Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


First NZ storm petrel egg found by scientists

New Zealand Storm Petrel Project 

Media Release

Friday February 28, 2014

First NZ storm petrel egg found by scientists 


Click for big version.

New Zealand storm petrel at sea. photo taken by Neil Fitzgerald

Researchers studying the New Zealand storm petrel on Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier Island) in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park are the first scientists to find a NZ storm petrel egg.

New Zealand storm petrels were presumed extinct then rediscovered in 2003, more than a century after the last sighting. In February last year the birds were successfully tracked to breeding sites on Hauturu. 

“The egg was found on the same day that a kakapo was found incubating eggs. This tale of two nests is a remarkable and joyful coincidenceand further highlights Hauturu Little Barrier’s role as New Zealand’s premier nature reserve,” says Warren Gibb, chairman of the Hauturu Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, who, with two local Forest & Bird branches, funded this year’s research.

NZ storm petrel project scientists took the opportunity when the female was off the nest to check the egg was fertile and record data.

“It was exciting to see the egg of a bird once thought to be extinct,” says Graeme Taylor, Department of Conservation (DOC) Principal Science Advisor leading the team. “Measuring a mere 31mm X 23mm, the egg is white with a fine dusting of pink spots concentrated at one end.” 

“The fact it has taken until 2014 for scientists to observe one of these tiny eggs reflects how much we still don’t know about New Zealand’s natural environment and particularly for marine species,” says Mr Taylor.

 The NZ storm petrel team, also involving Chris Gaskin, Dr Matt Rayner and Alan Tennyson, expect the egg to hatch in early April. Remote cameras set up at known burrows have detected birds coming and going at night.

The project has been supported by DOC with both fieldwork and the logistics of getting gear and personnel to the challenging location of Hauturu/ Little Barrier.

Ngati Manuhiri, mana whenua of Hauturu/Little Barrier are kaitiaki (guardians) of all the taonga on the island and its surroundings, including the translocations of any other taonga coming onto Hauturu such as the kakapo.  Ngati Manuhiri fully support any ongoing research and monitoring programmes that deliver outcomes that complement their cultural values and aspirations. Ngati Manuhiri are delighted with these latest developments.

New Zealand Storm Petrel fact file
 
•          The New Zealand storm petrel is a sparrow-sized seabird.
•          They spend most of their lives at sea, coming ashore only to breed.
•          They breed in burrows, are nocturnal when flying to and from their nest sites.
•          They lay only one egg, which they incubate for over a month.
•          The NZ storm petrel was described from three specimens. One is in the British Natural History Museum, Tring, a bird was found on a ship “off Banks Peninsula, New Zealand”. The ship had travelled from the Hauraki Gulf. The two specimens in Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris were collected off East Cape, North Island during the first cruise of the French corvette Astrolabe on 8 February 1827.
•          NZ storm petrels were presumed extinct, then rediscovered in 2003, more than a century after the last sighting. But their breeding site—the focus of conservation efforts for any seabird—remained a mystery.
•          In the nine years following rediscovery exploration by community groups, amateur and professional ornithologists and scientists has accumulated evidence of presence at sea, yet failed to reveal the breeding grounds of this critically endangered species. 
•          In 2013 members of the NZ storm petrel working group was successful in locating breeding sites for NZ storm petrel on Te Hauturu-o-Toi (Little Barrier Island).
•          In the months following the discovery (March to July 2013) the team was able to monitor a handful of NZ storm petrel nests.
•          This nesting season, starting in October 2013, remote cameras and sound recorders have been deployed at the four known nesting burrows for the species. The devices will remain in place until July this year. The cameras are triggered by something moving in front of them and the recorders are set to run for six hours at night.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Tax: GST Threshold For Online Purchases Won't Lower Before 2018

The government wants to lower the threshold on online purchases which qualify for GST from mid-2018, but says more work is needed and there will be no change without public consultation. More>>

ALSO:

North Canterbury: Government Extends Drought Classification

The government has extended a drought classification for the eastern South Island until the end of the year, meaning the area will have officially been in drought for almost two years, the longest period for such a category. More>>

ALSO:

Negotiations Fail: Christchurch Convention Centre Build To Proceed Without PCNZ

After protracted negotiations, the government has ditched the construction consortium it picked to build Christchurch's replacement convention centre, which it now anticipates delivering at least two years behind the original schedule. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: Greenpeace Launches Legal Challenge Against $1b Dam Plan

Greenpeace NZ is launching a legal challenge against a controversial plan to build a dam that’s set to cost close to $1 billion and will pollute a region’s rivers. More>>

ALSO:

Inequality: Top 10% Of Housholds Have Half Of Total Net Worth

The average New Zealand household was worth $289,000 in the year to June 2015, Statistics New Zealand said today. However wealth was not evenly distributed, with the top 10 percent accounting for around half of total wealth. In contrast, the bottom 40 percent held 3 percent of total wealth. More>>

ALSO:

What Winter? Temperature Records Set For June 20-22

The days around the winter soltice produced a number of notably warm tempertaures. More>>

Conservation Deal: New Kākāpō Recovery Partnership Welcomed

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the new kakapo recovery partnership between DOC and Meridian Energy is great news for efforts to save one of New Zealand’s most beloved birds. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news