Posts categorized as Birds

Riders of the storm – thousands of seabirds perish on New Zealand shores

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  • Fig. 7. The calm before the storm – healthy broad-billed prions on Kundy Island, off Stewart Island, March 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly
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  • Fig. 5. Beach-wrecked broad-billed prions, Paekakariki (Wellington west coast), 16 July 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly

It started as a trickle and soon developed into a flood of devastating proportions. On 11 July 2011 I received an email enquiry from a family at Waikanae seeking help with identifying an unusual seabird that they had found dead on their driveway. It was a Salvin’s prion, a not-too-unexpected discovery near the coast during… Read more »

Animal and plant collections

Te Papa’s Natural Environment team have revamped their webpages. You can access them here. Collection highlights online include: Big fish Medicinal ferns of the second Maori king Unique bird eggs and skeletons Colossal squid Plants collected during Captain Cook’s first expedition GV Hudson insect collection Nests of extinct birds The following links will take you… Read more »

The global penguin – Part 3. No latitude for error: a young emperor penguin a long way from home

  • Wandering albatross over subantarctic seas. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • Emperor penguins swimming among pack-ice. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • Emperor penguin chick fitted with satellite transmitter. Photo: Barbara Wienecke
  • Emperor penguins contemplating whether they could incubate eggs and raise chicks at sea. Photo: Barbara Wienecke

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly tells the third part of the unfolding story of the emperor penguin that went where none had gone before (at least in the age of digital media). Colin accompanied Department of Conservation staff to Peka Peka Beach on the morning of 21 June, and identified the… Read more »

The global penguin – Part 2. The young emperor penguin pushes the boundaries, and is taken into care

  • The healthy young emperor penguin on Peka Peka Beach, 21 June. (Richard Gill, DOC)
  • "You've all come to see me!" The admiring throng on 24 June. (Colin Miskelly, Te Papa)
  • Composite x-ray showing sand inside the penguins gut on 24 June - a pear-shaped lump in its stomach, and a sausage-shaped lump in its oesophagus. (original images from Wellington Zoo)
  • Composite x-ray showing sand inside the penguins gut on 24 June - a pear-shaped lump in its stomach, and a sausage-shaped lump in its oesophagus. (original images from Wellington Zoo)

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly tells the second part of the unfolding story of the emperor penguin that went where none had gone before (at least in the age of digital media). Colin accompanied Department of Conservation staff to Peka Peka Beach on the morning of 21 June, and identified the… Read more »

The global penguin – Part 1. How a lone emperor ventured into superstardom

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  • Kapiti Beach

Te Papa’s curator of terrestrial vertebrates Dr Colin Miskelly tells the first part of the unfolding story of the emperor penguin that went where none had gone before (at least in the age of digital media). An ordinary Tuesday morning. Logged on to the Te Papa server, downloading emails, waiting for the first caffeine jolt… 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 »

Surveying snipe on Putauhinu Island

  • Muttonbird islands from the north. Taukihepa (Big South Cape Island) on the left, Putauhinu Island on the right, Kaimohu in the foreground.
  • Adult South Island saddleback on Putauhinu Island.
  • James & Percy
  • Handheld Snares Island snipe on Putauhinu Island

Putauhinu Island is a 141 ha muttonbird island south-west of Stewart Island. The muttonbirders on Putauhinu have worked closely with the Department of Conservation (and its predecessor the New Zealand Wildlife Service) to restore the island’s ecology, including eradicating Pacific rats in 1995, and translocating and releasing South Island saddlebacks in 1974 & 1976, Codfish… Read more »