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Fairy Tern News

10 chicks fledged in total.

7 from Mangawhai
1 at Papakanui
2 hatched in Auckland zoo and were raised in the aviary in sand dunes near

This is great news! By now they will be getting confident with catching their own fish and with parents will soon be ready to migrate to the Kaipara harbour where they go for the winter.

Thank you to the closely knit team who help to make this possible. Department of
Conservation Rangers and Scientists. Zoo staff.
Dedicated volunteers at Waipu, Mangawhai, Pakiri and Papakanui.
Not forgetting the trappers who work in all weathers most of the year at all the sites. Without them the birds would not have much chance.

Mangawhai - a total of 7 FT chicks have successfully fledged this season

Papakanui - the FT chick is being banded this week(about to start learning to fly)

Te Arai Aviary - Original FT chick RB-WM taking regular hour-long flights, returning to aviary, attempting dives in estuary and interacting with adult FTs. The younger chick pGB-KM is learning to feed itself in the aviary, and watching and mimicking RB-WM outside. It will be released from aviary, under close supervision of zoo and DOC staff, sometime this week. If all goes well, we have successfully fledged 10 Fairy tern chicks this season. Fingers crossed!

Mangawhai: - all 3 fledglings are out fishing in the estuary with their parents nearby. Look out for ginger-capped fledgling Fairy Terns, learning to fish(or waiting for their parents to feed them!) New boardwalk at Back Bay, and off Tern Point at low tide, are good spots.

Papakanui: - one of the new chicks was taken to the Zoo for veterinary care but died soon after, and the 2nd chick is doing well, with parents standing on-watch and feeding it fish regularly.

Te Arai Aviary: - RB-WM(bands) fully-fledged, learning to fish and bathe in Te Arai stream. Unfortunately RK-RM, its friend, was found dead one morning - necropsy identified head injury. Another younger chick(pGB-KM) has arrived at the aviary from the zoo, and is learning to fish from the special trays inside the aviary.

Mangawhai - 3 more chicks banded and ready to fly, 1 other chick was pecked after banding, by a single male FT, and died subsequently. - 3 older chicks are learning to fish on the estuary with their parents.

Te Arai - 2 chicks hatched and raised in the Zoo, and Aviary, have now been released. They are treating the aviary as home-base, and venturing out with the assistance of RayBan - a chick that was orphaned a few years ago, and hand-fed by DOC staff until it managed on its own.

Papakanui - 2 new chicks have hatched on 20th and 22nd January. This is the second round for the parents this year. Fingers crossed the weather out there on the South Kaipara Heads treats them kindly!

It was a nervous time waiting for Cyclone Cody to pass last week for the Dept Conservation Rangers. Extra shell was put round the nest at Papakanui on the Kaipara Harbour which survived along with all Mangawhai chicks.

The 3 older chicks at Mangawhai are now regularly flying in the estuary, while the fourth still prefers to be fed at the nest site. The younger chicks are doing well and will be banded tomorrow.

There are 2 elusive wild cats on Mangawhai Sandspit even after concerted efforts by the Rangers + Fairy Tern Trust trapper the last few weeks. 2 DOC trappers with trained dogs have flown in from Great Barrier to help. Keep your eyes open if you are around the estuary to see the young birds or even hear them as they never stop peeping.