The trends and population dynamics of flesh-footed shearwaters (Puffinus carneipes) in New Zealand are not well understood. The threat classification was changed from "Not Threatened" to "Nationally Vulnerable" between 2008 and 2012 which falls within the criteria of predicted decline of 50-70%.
A clearer understanding of the population dynamics of this species is necessary to pinpoint the key problem areas. This project focused on one study site, Ohinau Island, Mercury Islands group, Coromandel, and expanded on previous work done on flesh-footed shearwaters started in 2012.
A two-week trip was carried out during late chick rearing, with the aim of banding as many chicks and adults as possible, both caught in burrows and on the surface at night. A total of 357 birds were banded, of which 90 were adults and 267 were chicks.
In addition, 186 study burrows were marked with access to the nest chamber, and 32 burrows were included as control burrows which would only be checked with a burrow-scope. These 218 burrows provide an excellent starting point for the next two seasons where the focus will be on monitoring reproductive success and continuing to increase the marked population and recapturing of banded birds.
Mischler, C.P. 2016. Flesh-footed shearwater demographic study, Ohinau Island, April-May 2016. Report prepared by Wildlife Managment International Ltd for the Conservation Services Programme, Department of Conservation, Wellington, 14 p.