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Brown teals flourishing in new home

Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012
Brown teal
SUCCESS: Two of the pateke released in September at Urupukapuka have had ducklings. Department of Conservation staff have spotted three ducklings on the island.

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Three little birds have caused a bit of a stir among the conversation-minded people in the Bay of Islands.

Department of Conservation staff have seen three pateke, or brown teal, ducklings on Urupukapuka only four months after the species was reintroduced there by Project Island Song and its partners.

Efforts now are directed at determining which birds are the ducklings' parents, Project Island Song's Richard Robbins says.

Early thoughts are in favour of a dominant pair that was released with transmitters fitted. Pateke are very territorial when ducklings are around and determining the parents should happen in due time. And Mr Robbins is confident that two of the ducks released in September are the parents.

It's affirming to have a sign of a successful translocation come this early, he says.

"We're really, really impressed that they've set up so quickly," he says.

Pateke are "aloof" and so measures of success in the translocation are hard to take. Two pairs released on Urupukapuka Bay haven't be seen since their release.

The sighting of the ducklings becomes that much more important.

"It's a real positive sign that they're liking the environment," Mr Robbins says.

"The thing is there may be more than three ducklings, we might just not be seeing them all."

Project Island Song is considering adding to the toutouwai, or North Island robin, population on the island.

Project Island Song is an ecological restoration project of an archipelago of island sanctuaries - including Urupukapuka - known as Ipipiri.

After the eradication of pests from the islands, Project Island Song has now begun to work on its longer term aims, bringing back the birdsong to the islands.

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