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

 

Final Frontier: Rocket Lab And NASA Sign Commercial Space Launch Agreement

Rocket Lab has signed a Commercial Space Launch Act Agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The agreement enables Rocket Lab to use NASA resources - including personnel, facilities and equipment - for launch and reentry efforts. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Wheeler Downplays Scope For ‘Large’ Rates Fall

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler says some market commentators are predicting further declines in interest rates that would only make sense for an economy in recession, although some easing is likely to be needed to maintain New Zealand’s economic growth. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha Dam: Consent Conditions Could Mean Reduced Intensity

Legal advice sought by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council on the Ruataniwha Dam consent conditions has confirmed that farmers who sign up to take water from the dam could be required to reduce the intensity of their farming operation to meet the catchment’s strict nitrogen limit. More>>

Health And Safety: Bill Now Sees Rules Relaxed For Small Businesses

Health and safety law reform sparked by the Pike River coalmine disaster has been reported back from the industrial relations select committee with weakened requirements on small businesses to appoint health and safety representatives and committees. More>>

ALSO:

Bearing Fruit: Annual Fruit Exports Hit $2 Billion For First Time

The value of fruit exported rose 20 percent (up $330 million) for the June 2015 year when compared with the year ended June 2014. Both higher prices and a greater quantity of exports (up 9.0 percent) contributed to the overall rise. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news