Successful Hutton’s Shearwater Chick Translocation

During March 2013 the developing colony at the Kaikoura Peninsula/Te Rae o Atiu was given a boost with the addition of a further 103 chicks translocated from the Kowhai River colony. The season’s crop of chicks were in excellent condition, with the birds selected for transfer having exceptional weights. The chicks were transferred from the mountain colony in two batches that were flown by helicopter directly to their new home. Here they were placed in their own artificial burrows and fed by hand with a sardine smoothie daily. The transfer went without a hitch and all 103 chicks fledged successfully. These young birds will in time provide an important boost to the number of breeding birds returning to the colony and will help ensure that the number of breeding birds continues to increase.

The chicks needed carefully daily attention, being weighed, measured and fed to ensure they were developing healthily and were in good body condition. For this we are grateful to the army of volunteers who gave up their time to assist.  The chance to take part in this ground-breaking project was well taken up, and was summed up in one volunteer comment: ‘To have such an amazing project on our backdoor is truly an inspiration’.