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.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Kaikoura's endemic bird offers rare opportunity for science students

Crash-landed Hutton's shearwater birds have given a Kaikoura year 13 science class the opportunity for some hands-on learning.

The Kaikoura High School general science class spent the day last week testing DNA from feathers taken from birds which crash-landed this season.

The Hutton's Shearwater Charitable Trust collected a feather from each of the birds found on the roads around the district in order to extract the bird's DNA, and determine their gender.

Teacher Rebecca Scott said the students were thoroughly engaged for the whole day and really enjoyed the experience, which would also earn them credits towards the practical side of their course.

"It was very meaningful and worthwhile," she said.

"Genetics can be quite theoretical so for them to be able to put this into practice with a bird which is endemic to this region was a really great experience."

About 75 birds were picked up over a four-week period this year, predominantly along the Esplanade.

University of Canterbury marine ecology lecturer Dr Sharyn Goldstein spent the day with the students DNA-testing 27 of those birds.

The students had done a fantastic job, resulting in some good data, she said.

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