Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Breed, fly, dive: Black Petrels on New Zealand's Great Barrier Island to be studied again this summer

Elizabeth (Biz) Bell, Senior Ecologist at Wildlife Management International (WMIL) is continuing to study New Zealand's endemic and ACAP-listed Black or Parkinson's Petrel Procellaria parkinsoni this austral summer.

Biz reports to ACAP "[w]e are monitoring the Black Petrels again this season - continuation of the mark/recapture work in our 401 study burrows between December 2012 and May 2013 with some interesting and exciting new aspects (particularly the dive depth work).  Hopefully the repeat of the random transect work will give us an idea if the Great Barrier Island (GBI) Black Petrel population is really in decline or has turned the corner and is increasing."

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Black Petrel.  Photograph by David Boyle

Planned research activities include:

Monitoring 401 study burrows  and identifying all birds in the study burrows and band if not already banded and measuring and weighing all birds (and sexing where possible);
confirming breeding status of birds in those burrows and monitoring their breeding success;
deploying up to 80 GPS loggers to obtain high-resolution tracking information on breeding adults, in collaboration with Todd Dennis from Auckland University and Todd Landers from Auckland Council;
deploying 15 dive depth devices to obtain dive and foraging strategy information on breeding adults;
undertaking random transects across the 35-ha study area to help determine the population trend of the GBI Black Petrel population; and
banding all the surviving chicks prior to fledging.

A good season's work on this Vulnerable species!

Click here and here for earlier news on the Black Petrel.

With thanks to Biz Bell, Wildlife Management International and Matt Rayner, Australasian ACAP News Correspondent, for information.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 3 December 2012