Bringing robins back to the Bay of Islands

Department of Conservation —  15/07/2014

This blog post was originally posted on the Explore Group’s website.

The Project Island Song partners—the Guardians, Ngati Kuta and Patukeha hapu and DOC—recently translocated 43 North Island robin/toutouwai from Pureora Forest in the central North Island to a new home on Moturua Island in the Eastern Bay of Islands/Ipipiri.

North Island robin/toutouwai in a tree. Photo: Richard Robbins/Sally Wells.

North Island robin/toutouwai.

Dr Kevin Parker from Parker Conservation and Massey University lead a large team of 20 which doubled as a training exercise for groups from both Pureora and the Bay of Islands.

The translocation was initiated between the hapu from both areas.

Robins being unloaded on Moturua Island. Photo: Richard Robbins/Sally Wells.

Robins being unloaded on Moturua Island

Firstly, a team from Nga Hapu o Rawhiti in Pureora went ahead to locate and pre-feed the birds, then the full crew arrived for three days of catching.

The catching was mainly done using clap traps, with some mist netting.

The male quota of 25 was caught by the middle of the second day, but the females proved a bit more elusive, with 18 caught by the end of day three.

A North Island robin being banded on Moturua Island. Photo: Richard Robbins/Sally Wells.

A North Island robin being banded

The toutouwai were then transported to Paihia overnight in a campervan provided by Wilderness Motorhomes, and then taken to Moturua Island the next morning where kaumatua and kuia were there to welcome them along with around 50 people who were transported to the island by the Explore Group.

Robins being released on Moturua Island by local volunteers. Photo: Richard Robbins/Sally Wells.

Release time

This was Project Island Song’s first wild to wild translocation.

To find out more visit the Project Island Song website.

Ranger and conservation dog on the boat. Photo: Richard Robbins/Sally Wells.

Ranger and conservation dog