Posts tagged with Birds

Travels with Betsy – exploring the world of albatross personality

  • A discussion in the field hut around the days activities. Betsy was a keen contributor to how we developed our testing regime. Left to right: Research assistants Tim Poepart, Julien Collet and CNRS researcher Dr Samantha Patrick. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Samantha Patrick, CNRS research repairs Betsy after a particularly intense interaction with a 'bold' albatross. Image: Susan Waugh; Copyright: Te Papa.
  • A birds with a more 'bold' response to meeting Betsy, clacks its bill and grumbles as Betsy is pulled away. Image: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.
  • Research assistant Julien Collet presents Betsy to an unsuspecting albatross on the nest. Photo: Susan Waugh. Copyright: Te Papa.

Do albatrosses have personalities? And if so, how do scientists measure such intangible characteristics? This blog provides some of the background to research Te Papa scientists were involved in, examining how birds use their environment, and how individual personality traits of these birds can be measured. The previous blogs on this topic can be accessed here…. Read more »

Makara students go ‘behind the scenes’

The students are shown a white-bellied sea eagle.

Back in July, students from Makara Model School had the chance to meet some Te Papa curators and get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at part of our Natural History collection store. This opportunity came about as part of Science Live: Expedition Snares Island that was broadcast earlier in the year. By asking our scientists a question… Read more »

Packed full of stunning pictures, detailed information and beautiful bird calls, NZ Birds Online is an online encyclopaedia of birds created in collaboration between Te Papa, DOC and OSNZ. We’re indebted to the photographers who’ve shared their images with us – and now the world! First up in our Meet the photographers series is Glenda Rees, an avid… Read more »

Khandallah kids go ‘behind the scenes’

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Readers may remember that as part of sunfish science extravaganza, a group of Khandallah School students won our competition to name the fish. Their winning name was Sunny Bill, and this morning they visited our natural history collection as part of their prize. The 28 students from room 5 arrived at the Tory St building… 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 »

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 »

Our far South – Antipodes and Bounty Islands: dots of importance

  • Salvin's albatross. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Bounty Island shag. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Bounty Island shag. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.
  • Furseal. Photo Anton van Helden, copyright Te Papa.

I awoke on the morning of 6 March to discover that we had very rapid progress over night and were approaching the rugged columnular basalt cliffs of the Antipodes Island, crowned with green tussocks. The home to the Antipodean albatross,the Antipodes Island parakeet and the erect-crested penguin (to name just a few of the birds!)…. Read more »

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

  • TEPAPA_n457357_v1_Prion_Fig_7
  • Fig. 7. The calm before the storm – healthy broad-billed prions on Kundy Island, off Stewart Island, March 2011. Photo: Colin Miskelly
  • TEPAPA_n457355_v1_Prion_Fig_6
  • 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 »