Staff from the Department of Conservation are thrilled that the December-born fairy tern chick is due to fledge any day now, and two more chicks have been hatched to boost the dwindling numbers of the endangered birds further.
The two new chicks were born on January 1, one in Waipu and the other in Mangawhai, and are being closely guarded.
“It is lovely news,” said DOC communications adviser, Abigail Monteith.
The current breeding season has had weather disruptions with repeated high winds, and it is expected that would have an impact on nesting. “Last year we had five chicks fledge, but we are likely to have fewer this year,” said DOC technical adviser, Tony Beauchamp.
The fairy terns nest on shell and sandbanks just above high tide, making them vulnerable to rats, stoats and other predators, disturbance by people, 4WD vehicles and dogs. They are also at risk from stormy weather and very high tides.
To help protect the birds and their chicks DOC advise to use designated walkways and avoid nests, keep dogs on leads and remove bait, fish and rubbish to deter predators. If you are being chased, squawked at, or if a bird is on the ground pretending to be injured, you are too close to a nest.
More information is available at the Mangawhai Museum where a fairy tern exhibition is on display.