As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday 14 March 2016

Delight as rare saddlebacks multiply

 By Peter de Graaf

A conservation group is "ecstatic" after discovering rare saddlebacks have been breeding in the Bay of Islands for the first time in more than a century.

Project Island Song - a community-driven project to return native wildlife to the eastern Bay of Islands - released 40 of the distinctive orange-and-black birds, also known as tieke, on Moturua and Urupukapuka islands last May.

The group's volunteers had been nervously awaiting the results of the birds' first breeding season but have now spotted several family groups with young fledglings.

Birds hatched on the island are easily recognised because, unlike the adults released last winter, they have no leg bands.

Project Island Song coordinator Richard Robbins said describing the volunteers as excited would be a massive understatement.

"We're ecstatic. They're the first tieke to breed on the island in more than 100 years, and they're the northernmost population in New Zealand."

Mr Robbins said the wet summer meant there was plenty of food for the birds, helping to ensure a good breeding season.

Tieke liked to eat small invertebrates but would also feed on nectar and berries.

The group had yet to carry out a bird count - that would take place later this month - but there had been plenty of sightings and people were hearing the tieke's distinctive call all over Urupukapuka.

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