Posts written by Susan Waugh

Life in the Burrow

  • Flesh-footed shearwater track from a bird loggered during incubation at Titi Island in January 2012. The bird flew to the east of Cook Strait and to the base of the Chatham Rise,and returned to Cook Strait,  where the logger battery failed. The bird then returned to its nest, where we recovered the logger and it continued raising its chick.
  • Transect locations on Titi Island
  • Attaching the locational logger to a Flesh-footed shearwater at Titi Island, Marlborough, by taping the small electronic device to the birds’ back feathers. Photo: Simon Hayward.
  • Te Papa shearwater research team preparing GPS loggers for deployment prior to departing for the island in Marlborough. We programmed the loggers (green and white electronic devices) and encased them in black heat-shrink tubing to keep them watertight. Dr Susan Waugh, Senior Curator Natural Environment (front left) with volunteers Alison Burnett (centre) and Simon Hayward (right) Photo: Jean-Claude Stahl.

By Alison Burnett and Susan Waugh The austral summer is the peak breeding season for seabirds in New Zealand. Te Papa is undertaking research into the impacts of seabird mortality in fisheries on shearwater populations over the next 2 summers. We began the study in January 2012, surveying islands to assess changes in the numbers… Read more »

A petrel’s day at sea

  • Westland Petrel, endemic to New Zealand on its breeding ground. Photograph by D Filippi
  • Susan Waugh looking for petrels with burrowscope. Photograph by G Waugh
  • Prime petrel habitat, rugged coastal waters of Westland near Barrytown. Photograph by S Waugh
  • Measuring and weighing a petrel before logger deployment Susan Waugh and Megan Waugh. Photograph by G Waugh

The advent of GPS in cell-phones and car navigation systems has done a lot to render this technology accessible for a variety of users, devices are now only 10-20 g in weight, and can cost as little as $100 a piece. Satellite telemetry was first used to study flying birds in 1999 when 300 g… Read more »