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 30 April 2018

Baer's Pochard "rarer than Giant Panda"


The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) has highlighted a worrying new global population estimate for the Critically Endangered Baer's Pochard.

Fewer than 1,000 of this eastern diving duck species are now thought to exist in the wild, according to the latest figures on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, making the species rarer than Giant Panda, which is thought to number 1,864.

Once prevalent across Central and South-East Asia, Baer's Pochard numbers have suffered a serious and ongoing decline, suspected to be the result of major changes and degradation to wetlands in the region.

Proposed road construction threatens Ecuadorian rainforest


Wildlife conservation charity World Land Trust (WLT) is urgently raising funds to protect tropical forest in the Amazonian Andes of Ecuador, where hundreds of species are threatened by plans to build a road through virgin forest.

The Amazonian Andes is one of the richest habitats on Earth, where the wildlife of the Amazon basin meets the montane species of the Andes Mountain Range. However, only an estimated 25 per cent of the natural habitat in the tropical Andes remains intact.

As agricultural practices intensify across the South American continent, resulting in the clearance of rainforests, the remaining patches of natural habitat are increasingly isolated from each other, and often only remain secure in parks or reserves under national protection. Maintaining the connections between these areas is vital for allowing species such as Harpy Eagle and Spectacled Bear to move between forest areas and for connecting populations of less widely ranging species such as amphibians. These connections are also increasingly important in the face of climate change, as intact natural corridors will allow species to move in response to changing weather patterns and habitats.

Mystery illness strikes Perth's bird population, leaving experts baffled

Posted 10 Apr 2018, 10:24pm

A mystery illness is striking down birds across Perth, with experts no closer to knowing the cause.

Wildlife centres have been inundated with magpies, mudlarks, and ravens suffering from a form of paralysis that causes weakness in their legs and wings, poor responsiveness, and clenched feet leaving them unable to stand.

Helen Riley from Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Lesmurdie said she had seen 14 cases in the past few months.

Read more  

Endangered Bird Battles Back From Brink of Extinction


Down to only 350 birds when it was listed as an endangered species, a southwestern songbird’s numbers have soared through conservation efforts, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Friday.

The agency noted estimates that the black-capped vireo’s population now stands around 14,000 in its announcement of the final delisting action for the species, which removes the vireo from the federal list of endangered species.

The tiny vireo, less than five inches long, has made its remarkable recovery due to “robust conservation efforts” since the bird’s listing in 1987 under the Endangered Species Act, the agency said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service, or FWS, joined with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, two military installations, The Nature Conservancy, Environmental Defense Fund, Mexico, private landowners and others to implement a recovery plan for these important insect-eating birds.


Hawaiian Goose on its Way to Recovery

Officials have proposed that the Hawaiian Goose be downlisted from Endangered to Threatened.

The Nene, Hawai’i’s official state bird also known as the Hawaiian Goose, has recently received some good news. Due to a growing population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed downlisting the status of the Hawaiian Goose from Endangered to Threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The state bird has been considered Endangered according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature since 1967, but after 51 years, the species is no longer in immediate danger of extinction.

The Nene’s population was recorded at 30 individuals in 1960. The Nene was first protected in 1967 and has since benefited from a combined recovery effort, including captive breeding, predator control, and habitat protection. Today, more than 2,800 Nene live across all of the Hawaiian Islands. Loyal Mehrhoff, the Endangered Species Recovery Director at the Center for Biological Diversity said:

Sunday 29 April 2018

Documentary highlights effort to save Philippine eagle

April 10, 2018

The Philippine eagle is a large, powerful raptor but it may not be large or powerful enough to withstand buzzing chainsaws that are erasing the old-growth forests it needs to survive. There are fewer than 800 of these birds remaining in the Philippines.

A new documentary, “Bird of Prey,” is bringing the story of their conservation to audiences around the world as well as in the Philippines, spotlighting the efforts of a small but determined group of people trying to save the eagle. The film is being screened in Ithaca for the first time as part of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival Sunday, April 15, at 4 p.m. at Cinemapolis in Ithaca.

“Bird of Prey” is the work of cinematographer Neil Rettig in partnership with the Multimedia Productions group at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Filipino conservationists. The film's vivid imagery takes viewers right into the eagle’s nest 100 feet aloft or soaring through the remote mountain patches of forest where the eagle still survives.

Forest and Bird says more needs to be done for Northland kauri

Forest and Bird and the Northland Regional Council will work together to improve wording on the council's Regional Pest Management Plan following an Environment Court ruling. 

The interim decision by the court in February called for the two groups to work together to produce the final wording for the plan - focusing on an effective strategy which could help prevent the spread of kauri dieback. 

Phytophthora agathidicida (PA) is the pathogen which causes kauri dieback and can be spread through a pinhead of soil. The microscopic spores attach themselves to kauri roots, leech nutrients and starve the tree to death - there is no cure for the disease and its origin is unknown.

Forest and Bird Northland conservation advocate Dean Baigent-Mercer says while the plan relates to private land, further steps need to be taken to protect kauri on public land. 
"The two highest risks in spreading kauri dieback in Northland are where there's people moving mud around on their feet like the Te Araroa national walkway and DOC tracks," Baigent-Mercer says. 

"The other situation is where hunters take pigs or piglets from one spot that happens to be infected with kauri dieback and release them in another area and spread the invisible disease."

New radar-based maps provide clearer view of present and future bird migrations


ITHACA — For the first time, researchers here are using maps that rely on radar to forecast night-time clouds of migratory birds and to track flights in near-real-time.

Scientists with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the University of Oxford in England made the breakthrough — processing weather radar data to produce maps that visualize migration on the Cornell Lab’s BirdCast website (

One map shows an animated visualization that tracks migration in near-real-time. Cornell lab postdoctoral associate Adriaan Dokter designed an algorithm to rapidly estimate the intensity and flight directions of migrating birds detected by the weather radar network. The system processes incoming radar data continuously and updates the animated map every 10 minutes.
Another map forecasts migration three days ahead. The color-coded displays combine projected weather conditions and bird movements to show where and when the most intense migrations are expected.


Bold and aggressive behaviour means birds thrive in cities

Monday, April 16, 2018, 16:30 - Most people probably wouldn’t consider bustling towns and cities good places for nature to thrive. Yet a few species of birds have so successfully adapted to city living that they boast large and thriving urban populations. Now, research has suggested that the success of these city-dwelling species may lie in their behaviour.

Urban habitats are quite different to the natural environments in which birds evolved. Cities are noisy places, they are lit almost continually with artificial lights and they contain an abundance of food. Cities are also full of people. This means birds living there rarely get any peace and must cope with almost constant disturbance from both humans and their pets.

But birds living in cities are known to be much more tolerant of human disturbance than their rural compatriots. In a study of 44 European bird species, all but four allowed humans to approach them more closely in cities than in rural habitats. This suggests that city birds are bolder in the face of a potential threat.

Rarely seen American bittern spotted in UK for first time in eight years

Lucky birdwatchers spot wading bird flying alongside its European cousin in Suffolk

Wednesday 11 April 2018 16:01 BST

The Independent Online

The American bittern spotted at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Carlton Marshes, near Lowestoft SWNS
Hundreds of bird watchers flocked to Britain after an American bittern was spotted for the first time in almost a decade.

People came from across Europe to catch a glimpse of the bird, which is believed not to have been seen in the UK since 2010.

It was first sighted on Saturday evening flying above the reeds in Carlton Marshes, Suffolk; the first time it has been recorded in the county.

After reports of the sighting were posted on social media, admirers arrived in droves to see the bird for themselves.

Photographer Jeff Higgott captured an image of the wading bird in flight after waiting by the reeds for more than six hours.

Friday 27 April 2018

Endangered bird found on rooftop of downtown Lansing building

LANSING (WILX) A Peregrine falcon with three eggs was recently found on the rooftop of the Comerica Bank Building in downtown Lansing.

The bird, which is an endangered species in Michigan, was found on April 5th by a worker during a construction business meeting.

The U.S. peregrine falcon population declined in the 1960's due to a pesticide called DDT. By 1968, the entire U.S. peregrine falcon population east of the Mississippi River was gone.

According to a June 2017 report from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the southeast Michigan Peregrine Falcon population has increased from five young birds reintroduced in 1987 to 15 nesting pairs that reared 30 young in 2016.

More from the DNR: "These falcons require large areas of open air for hunting, and are not found in areas that are heavily forested. The diet of the peregrine falcon includes a wide variety of small birds, including pigeons, seabirds, shorebirds and songbirds. Occasionally, they have been known to take small ducks, earning them the misleading name "duck hawks." Peregrines hunt by diving at their prey from far above and catching it in mid-flight. During these incredible dives, called "stoops," the birds can reach speeds of 180 miles per hour."

Scientists to build the avian tree of life


OpenWings project will provide open access data on more than 10,000 bird species


Birds are the only surviving descendants of dinosaurs. Birds also are used to study a large range of fundamental topics in biology from understanding the evolution of mating systems to learning about the genetic and environmental factors that affect their beautiful plumages.

Although birds are often studied by scientists and enjoyed by millions of birdwatchers, a complete description of the evolutionary relationships among all 10,560 bird species has not been possible. With the support of the National Science Foundation, scientists have embarked on a large-scale project to build the evolutionary tree of all bird species using cutting-edge technologies to collect DNA from across the genome. This project, called OpenWings, will produce the most complete evolutionary tree of any vertebrate group to-date. Because this research will take several years to complete, the project will also release data to the public as they are generated for use by any scientist, citizen or professional, for their own research.

Record numbers of Blue-throated Macaws spotted

10 Apr 2018

Although it’s in critical danger of extinction, there’s hope for the Blue-Throated Macaw. A series of conservation initiatives have led to record numbers of the bird being seen this past November.

By Samantha Moreno

When Tjalle Boorsma, a reserve coordinator at the Barba Azul Nature Reserve, surveyed the number of Blue-throated Macaws Ara glaucogularis this past November he counted 155, a new record.

The finding is significant because Blue-Throated Macaws are Critically Endangered, with just 250 to 300 left in the wild according to BirdLife. The population was initially decimated in the 80s when wild birds were caught and sold as pets. Live export of the parrots was banned in 1984, leading to a dramatic reduction in trade. However, the species did not bounce back, largely due to a lack of habitat and suitable breeding spaces.

Appeal for help to save Fakenham’s corncrakes

Published: 10:30 Tuesday 17 April 2018

Nature-lovers are being asked to listen out for one of the bird world’s most distinct cries in a bid to gauge the success of a Fakenham breeding programme. Organised by Pensthorpe Natural Park, the breed and release programme was organised to boost numbers of corncrakes, once widespread across the UK, but now in decline with numbers at their lowest since 2003.

Chrissie Kelley, head of species management, said: “These fascinating, rare, farmland birds are seriously under threat so we are appealing for help from local birding groups and members of the public to listen out for the distinct rasping cry of the corncrake. “We can only start to understand the success of our efforts by determining the numbers of returning birds. We hope by engaging support we will gain a clear understanding of return success.”

Read more at: 

Couple find rare 100 year old birds eggs in dead relative's home

16th April

Emily Walker Chief reporter

AN EGG-straordinary donation of potentially illegal birds’ eggs have been handed over to a zoo.
The collection of more than 100 specimens was delivered to Drusillas Park in Alfriston.

The rare bird eggs were delivered to the zoo last week by a couple who stumbled across them while clearing out the belongings of a deceased relative. The collection includes eggs which are more than a century old but it has been illegal to take the eggs of most wild birds since the Protection of Birds Act 1954 and anyone caught with an unlicensed collection can face serious charges.

Thursday 26 April 2018

Sick sea birds are showing up on central Florida beaches

Posted: Apr 13, 2018 11:17 AMUpdated: Apr 13, 2018 4:21 PM GDT

 (WESH) Scores of rare sea birds are washing up on central Florida beaches, starving and near death.

Northern Gannets are rarely seen in Brevard County, but they migrate far off the coast, heading to their breeding grounds on the coastal cliffs of Maine and Canada.

In a tragedy that's not been seen there in more than 15 years, many are not making it.

"They are usually very exhausted, very thin, and it's just touch and go whether they're going to make it or not," said Tracy Frampton at the Florida Wildlife Hospital.

Since late March, Frampton says the hospital has received a total of 85 birds.

In a few cases, the Northern Gannets have regained their strength, and can be released to resume their migration.

Biologists aren't sure why so many haven't been able to find or catch the fish they need to survive.

Read more:


Rare brown booby bird from California found stranded on Oregon coast

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 8:15 PM GDTUpdated: Apr 12, 2018 8:28 PM GDT
By FOX 12 Staff

A rare brown booby bird was found stranded on the Oregon coast.

The young bird was discovered around noon Sunday, hours after a storm battered the Pacific Northwest.

The Oregon Coast Aquarium was notified of a large, unique-looking bird on the beach adjacent to South Beach State Park.

Aquarium staff typically requests injured birds be brought to their facility in Newport, however in cases such as this, with the bird being large and potentially dangerous, aquarium workers responded to the scene.

Aviculturists identified the bird as a juvenile brown booby.

Brown booby birds are typically found in tropical or subtropical zones off the coast of Central America. In the past few decades, however, the range of the birds has expanded northward. Last fall, biologists discovered the first instance of the seabirds nesting as far north as California in Channel Islands National Park.

The Clock is Ticking for Rare New Zealand Albatross

Extinction loomed for the Endangered Antipodes Island Wandering Albatross, but luckily conservationists have taken action.

The Endangered Antipodes Island Wandering Albatross will be functionally extinct (meaning that mating pair numbers will be so low there is no chance of their species survival) in the next 20 years if the population continues to decline. This rare bird breeds almost exclusively on the remote, subantarctic Antipodes Island in New Zealand, and in the last 13 years the population has experienced massive declines due to high mortality of females and reduced breeding success. If the current rate of decline continues, fewer than 500 pairs will remain within 20 years, but thanks to recent conservation efforts there is hope for these rare birds.

Gwent Wildlife Trust says that rare cranes have returned to Gwent Levels - but proposed new M4 route could threaten their future

12th April

GWENT Wildlife Trust (GWT) says rare cranes have returned to the Gwent Levels to breed on the route of the proposed M4.

Common cranes died out across the UK 400 years ago, so their return to the Gwent Levels has been welcomed, but GWT warns another manmade threat is threatening their future - the proposed M4 motorway.

GWT have been contacted by a number of members who have sighted the cranes in the past week or so, on and around the Gwent Levels and their nature reserve at Barecroft Common, areas where the proposed new M4 route will be built over.

It is thought the cranes spotted come from The Great Crane Project, a reintroduction scheme which released 93 hand-reared cranes between 2010 and 2014 on the RSPB West Sedgemoor Reserve in Somerset.

Thanks to the success of the scheme for the past three years, a pair of cranes have flown from Somerset, to breed on the Gwent Levels during the spring.

GWT’s deputy chief executive Gemma Bodé said: “It is really exciting news that the cranes have chosen to return to the Gwent Levels to breed once again. The precious habitat we have here on the Levels is perfect for them as they need very quiet, secluded, wet areas to breed successfully.

Dummy birds deployed to tempt rare terns back to the Solent

DECOY bird models are being used in a bid to tempt a rare species back to the Solent. Dummy birds are among the new techniques being used by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to boost local tern populations. 

Common, sandwich, little, and roseate terns used to nest widely in the region, but their numbers have declined in recent years. Experts suggest the birds lack suitable safe space to nest – because of human disturbances, rising sea levels and shrinking beaches, overfishing, pollution and stormy weather.

Read more at:

Wednesday 25 April 2018


The short-tailed Javan green magpie is one of the world’s rarest


Prague is known for its puppets, and many people who live here get a bit jaded at seeing them all the time. But the puppets are doing some good. Prague Zoo is using a hand puppet to help save the short-tailed Javan green magpie, one of the rarest and most critically endangered birds in the world.

The brightly colored bird is a member of the Corvus family, which includes crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays, treepies, choughs, and nutcrackers.

"In the Corvus birds, including magpies, there is so-called imprinting. Artificial breeding would imprint a person’s traits on a juvenile bird and it would be lost for the next breeding,” Prague Zoo bird breeder Antonín Vaidl said in a press release. "When using a puppet to imitate an adult bird, there is no such impression [of a person], and it can be bred with the right habits.”

The hand puppet does not have to be a faithful copy of an adult magpie, but it must have the key signs the youngsters react to such as a distinct red beak and black eyes on a bright green background.

The Javan green magpie was hatched in an incubator last month and is being kept in a special box. The magpies that laid the egg had already thrown one egg out of their nest, so zookeepers decided to take the other and hatch it artificially, as each birth helps to protect the species.

Conservationists Begin Study to Analyze Vocalizations of ‘Alalā

By Big Island Now
April 18, 2018, 10:26 AM HST (Updated April 18, 2018, 10:27 AM) 

The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Resources reports that the eleven young ‘Alalā living in the Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve on the Island of Hawai‘i continue to thrive, showing increased natural behaviors, foraging on native plants, and even challenging the occasional ‘Io, or Hawaiian Hawk.

Conservationists are cautiously optimistic about the birds’ continued success in native habitats and are working together with researchers at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo to analyze vocalizations of these rare birds.  Foraging and other social behaviors are also being studied to determine if historically seen activities are increasing now that the group has access to the surroundings in which they evolved.

“When the only existing ‘Alalā were living in the protected aviaries at the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center, we saw fewer types of alarm and territory calls in the population and the frequency of alarm calls was greatly reduced.” said Alison Greggor, Postdoctoral Associate, San Diego Zoo Global.

“We are beginning to observe behaviors that appear to be responsive to the changes and threats available in natural habitat and we are working on evaluating this scientifically to see if the birds’ rich behavioral repertoire is being recovered now that they have been reintroduced into the forest.” said Joshua Pang-Ching, Research Coordinator of the San Diego Zoo Global’s Hawai‘i Endangered Bird Conservation Program. Some of these behaviors include foraging on native fruits, searching for insects within bark of native trees, and interacting with ʻIo,  which is their natural predator.

Taranaki's kōkako population continues to grow

Taranaki's kōkako population is slowing climbing, with four more of the endangered birds making the region home over the past week.

Released into the Parininihi Forest, near Urenui, the new residents are a part of a catch and release operation in which 20 kōkako will be taken from the Rangitoto Ranges, on the northern edge of Pureora Forest Park, King Country, and relocated to the area this month.

Leading the efforts, Tiaki te Mauri o Parininihi Trust, responsible for bringing the rare bird back to rural Taranaki after a near 20-year absence, hopes to one day have 500 kōkako living at Parininihi.

And according to trust chair Davis McClutchie, they are well on their way.

Eighteen years after the last kokako, named Tamanui, was moved from Parininihi to a captive breeding programme run by the Department of Conservation (DOC), 12 of his descendants were brought to the national forest in May last year.

Davis said the additional 20 kōkako marked an important milestone for the Ngāti Tama-led trust and are critical in building a genetically healthy and robust kōkako population.

But he said the programme was bigger than just Parininihi.

 "As we strengthen and expand our pest control work and increase native populations, biodiversity corridors can be created connecting our work to other projects", Davis said.
Volunteer Phil Andrews, of Shell Taranaki, will be on the ground helping with the catching this week. 


New potential mate for Cairngorms osprey EJ

10 April 2018

The most successful breeding female osprey at an RSPB Scotland reserve has been seen with a new potential mate.

Known as EJ, the female returned to the RSPB's Loch Garten reserve in the Cairngorms for her 15th breeding season after migrating from west Africa.

But Odin, her partner of nine years, has not returned after disappearing mid-season last year.
Reserve staff have been blogging about a new male bird seen with EJ at her nest.

EJ returned to the nest last month and has been defending the site against rival birds.

Take a gander: Dutch drivers warned over boom in geese population

Hundreds of geese spotted in grasslands around roads in east Netherlands, with some birds swooping into paths of vehicles

Daniel Boffey in Brussels
Wed 18 Apr 2018 15.09 BSTLast modified on Wed 18 Apr 2018 17.57 BST

The emergence of the Netherlands as the most popular place in Europe for geese has prompted an urgent call for Dutch drivers to watch out for hundreds of birds breeding on the grassy junctions and motorways verges.

More than 500,000 geese are in the country in the warmer months, and 2.5 million overwinter there, amounting to a 95% increase on the numbers counted in the 1960s.

The Netherlands’ intensive farming and temperate climate make it the best country for geese in Europe, according to the Sovon Dutch centre for field ornithology, the organisation responsible for surveying bird populations.

The population boom, however, is not without problems. Roadside grasslands are particularly attractive to breeding birds because of their the abundance of clover leaves and protection from predators.

Hundreds of geese have been spotted off roads in Gelderland in the east of the country and elsewhere. Others have been swooping down into the paths of cars and lorries, presumably seeking to protect their offspring. A stretch of road in the town of Opheusden, in Gelderland, reported four collisions in a week.

Monday 23 April 2018

PICTURES: RSPB warns against feeding red kites after toddlers Giulia and Luca Viarnaud, from Marlow, attacked in Higginson Park

10th April

People are being warned not to feed red kites after two toddlers were left with cuts when a bird swooped in and tried to snatch their sandwiches at a park in Marlow.

Giulia and Luca Viarnaud, aged five and three respectively, were enjoying their lunch in Higginson Park with mum Emily when the bird of prey dived at the children and tried to steal their sandwiches.

It went to Giulia first and, when it was unsuccessful, pounced on Luca’s lunch, managing to take it away.

Emily said her daughter was left with a scratch to her head as a result and she is now worried about letting her children play outside

Police appeal for information on missing satellite-tagged sea eagle in Perthshire

POLICE yesterday appealed for information after a young satellite-tagged white tailed eagle vanished in suspicious circumstances in Perthshire.

PUBLISHED: 22:19, Wed, Apr 18, 2018 | UPDATED: 22:34, Wed, Apr 18, 2018

The sea eagles transmitting tag stopped working last month

The female, named Blue X, was the offspring of the first breeding pair of sea eagles reintroduced to Scotland’s east coast as part of the scheme to re-establish the majestic birds after they were wiped out a century ago.

It fledged from a nest in Tentsmuir Forest, Fife, in July 2017, but its tag suddenly stopped transmitting last month in Glen Quaich, south of Aberfeldy.

Police and RSPB Scotland, along with gamekeepers from surrounding estates, launched a search for the missing raptor and its tag, but neither has been found.

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “A joint search took place following the RSPB report that the bird was missing but no trace was found and the disappearance of this bird remains unexplained.

“Police Scotland appeals for anyone who may have information about the disappearance of this bird to call 101 or Crimestoppers.”

This hummingbird “sings” with its tail to trick potential mates

Chris Davies - Apr 12, 2018

You might think being able to hover in place and dip your long, stealthy beak into the sweetest nectar would be enough as a male hummingbird to attract a mate, but it turns out female Costa’s hummingbirds are a little more demanding. Scientists researching the birds have observed unusual flying patterns, in which the male birds produce an unexpected type of song: from their tails.

Unlike regular birdsong, the male Costa’s have developed a new way to sing to potential mates. Researchers at UC Riverside used an acoustic camera to record how the birds flew around, observing that whereas most male hummingbirds would dive in front of the females, the Costa’s opted to fly to the side instead.

Turns out, it’s sound not speed that they’re trying to demonstrate. By twisting their tails up vertically, by as much as 90-degrees, the birds can cause the outer tail feathers to flutter and create a “song” of their own. However there’s also a sly reason for it, that goes beyond merely music.

The careful twisting and diving also allows the birds to minimize the Doppler effect as they whoosh past their preferred mate. That’s the same effect that changes how a sound is perceived depending on whether it’s moving toward you or away from you. You’ve probably noticed, for example, how the sound of the siren from an ambulance or fire truck alters once it goes past you.

Thousands of dead blue penguins thought to have washed up on northern beaches

Little Blue Penguins deaths increase


Large numbers of dead blue penguins have been washed up on northern east coast beaches this summer, with the total number thought to be in the thousands.

The number of dead birds was unusual but not unprecedented, Department of Conservation penguin expert Graeme Taylor said. It was about a one-in-20-year event, with the last similar year being 1998.

Reports of dead penguins had been coming in from east coast beaches from Bay of Plenty north since the start of the year.

The number of dead little blue penguins washing up on northern beaches is much higher than usual, with estimates thousands of the dead birds have been found.

A clearer idea of the number of dead penguins found would not be known until the Birds New Zealand Beach Patrol Scheme put out its 2018 report, but the number would have to be in the thousands, Taylor said.

"I've heard people saying they've picked up 20 or 30 on a single small beach somewhere."