Posts categorized as Birds

For the love of birds

NZ Birds Online screenshot - Tiny forest birds

We have recently launched NZ Birds Online, an encyclopaedia of New Zealand birds. I have been involved in this project for 18 months, from the IT side of things, and it’s been an absolute pleasure all along! I’m an identification geek (among other geekily obsessions). If I have taken a photo of a fern, or… Read more »

Crazy about kākā? We have the website for you!

  • Kakapo. Adult male (Sirocco). Maud Island, 2007. Image © Dylan van Winkel by Dylan van Winkel
  • Spotted shag Philip Griffin
  • North Island saddleback Philip Griffin
  • Male bellbird Peter Reese

Are you crazy about kākā? Smitten by stitchbirds? Wild about weka? NZ Birds Online is the website for you! Created in collaboration between Te Papa, DOC and OSNZ, NZ Birds Online is an online encyclopaedia of birds packed full of stunning pictures, detailed information and beautiful bird calls. Take a look at some of the… Read more »

Behind the scenes: A week in the life of a natural history curator

  • A wing being prepared by Catherine for incorporation into the collection.
  • Alan with a shearwater skeleton prepared by Catherine.
  • Alan looking through Te Papa's prion skin collection.
  • Alan and Trish looking at birds eggs in Te Papa's collection. Te Papa has recently improved their storage method of these fragile items.

What does a Te Papa curator do? I spent last week following Te Papa’s terrestrial vertebrate curator Alan Tennyson to find out. Here are some of the main highlights:  Visitors Monday saw Alan meet with Trish Nugent-Lyne, a collection manager at Whanganui Regional Museum. Te Papa staff are helping Trish prepare an articulated dog skeleton… Read more »

Solander: Kingdom of the Birds

  • Close up Buller's albatross, or mollymawk. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Albatross at home on rough seas. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Attaching logger to bird. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • econd campsite in the colony. Photo credit: Michael Hall © Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Steeped in history, Solander Island stands as a reminder of how beautiful it once was in this land which once was the kingdom of the birds. Monday 6 May Our party of 3 comprising Dr Dominique Filippi, Director Sextant Technology Ltd, Jean Claude Stahl (photographer scientist) and myself (Michael Hall) spend time readying for the… Read more »

How to DNA sex birds.

Sex chromosomes in birds and mammals.

The males and females of many bird species are difficult to distinguish by their appearance (peacocks are a notable exception). There are many situations where it is useful to know the sex of birds including captive breeding programmes, behavioural studies and even species delimitation in extinct taxa. DNA sexing provides a simple and quick way… Read more »

Burgess Island – a recovering seabird island

  • Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) accompanied us as we approached the Mokohinau Islands. Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fig. 1. Team members Jo Peace, Megan Friesen and Derek Bettesworth head towards the Burgess Island lighthouse. Little Barrier Island Hauturu can be seen in the background. Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fig. 2. Old lighthouse accommodation provided a comfortable base with spectacular views. Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa
  • Fig. 5. Black-winged petrels displaying over Burgess Island at night. . Photo Alan Tennyson, Te Papa

By Alan Tennyson, Curator of Vertebrates I was invited by Chris Gaskin (Forest & Bird) and Matt Rayner (Auckland University) to join a party in February 2013 on the Mokohinau Islands to hunt for the nesting grounds of the recently rediscovered New Zealand storm petrel (Fregetta maoriana). This island group lies more than 50 km… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 4. Le Champ des Albatros

Sam Patrick and Julien Collet discuss results from personality tests, assisted by Betsy, the blue test cow. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa.

Here at the haut lieu of albatross biology – Le Champ des Albatros, Crozet Islands the main study site for Wandering Albatrosses in the French Southern Territories, we have now done a round of all the behaviour testing, GPS deployments and nest checks that await us over the next month. We arrived a week ago,… Read more »

Sense and Sensibility in the Southern Ocean – A character-building story of albatross and researcher personalities in extreme conditions. Part 3. Arriving at the Crozet Islands

  • Aceanas and rusty relics at Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • French Research Base Alfred Faure at the Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Sheathbill at Baie du Marin. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa
  • Unloading at Baie du Marin, Crozet Islands. Image: Susan Waugh, © Te Papa

After a days delay while we took part in an exercise involving the French Navy, we finally sighted the Crozet Islands as the sun cast its water rays over a cold deep blue-grey sea. Suddenly the bird life around the boat changed from the occasional white-chinned petrel and wandering albatross, to flights of little prions,… Read more »