Introduction

Storms wreaking havoc around the lower North Island have blown sea birds inland to areas where they are not typically seen.

Storms wreaking havoc around the lower North Island have blown sea birds inland to areas where they are not typically seen.

“Storms are bringing in dozens and dozens of seabirds inland,” Department of Conservation biodiversity programme manager said Peter Simpson.

With wild weather expected to continue for a number of days yet, the Department of Conservation is asking members of the public to help with the recovery effort.

“If people are keen to help, the best thing they can do for these birds is to put them in a box and return them to the water’s edge as soon as they can”.

Broad billed prion. Photo: Don Merton.
Broad-billed prion

Mr Simpson noted that there was no need to intervene in any other way, including feeding or heating the birds, as that was likely to put the bird under more stress.

It is thought that many of the birds will be younger birds, fledged last spring, that are inexperienced and not used to navigating stronger winds.  The majority of the birds that DOC is getting calls about are smaller common seabirds such as prions and petrels, which are numerous around coastal New Zealand and spend the majority of their time at sea.

Mr Simpson noted that this was a phenomenon that happened during strong storms, but usually occurred away from the public eye out at sea,

“They must be some pretty strong winds to bring these birds ashore."

For birds with obvious injuries DOC is asking people to call the DOC HOTline 0800 362 468.

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