Forty tīeke released in the Bay of Islands

Department of Conservation —  07/04/2015

By Richard Robbins, Project Coordinator for Project Island Song

Forty tīeke/North Island saddleback were recently welcomed to Ipipiri in the Eastern Bay of Islands by around 90 tāngata whenua and Project Island Song supporters.

Tīeke/saddleback getting ready to fly. Photo: Duncan/angrysunbird | CC BY-SA 2.0.

Tīeke/saddleback getting ready to fly

Twenty tīeke were released at Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island and twenty more at Ohutopu Bay on Moturua Island.

The birds arrived by helicopter from Mauimua/Lady Alice Island, each to a powhiri and celebration. Tīeke are the latest species to be returned as part of the Project Island Song restoration.

Transporting the tīeke from the helicopter.

Tīeke arrive by helicopter

It was a huge relief to see the first lot of birds land safely and fly out of their boxes onto their new island home.

Tīeke being released.

The big release

A further forty tīeke will arrive in late May—this time from Tiritiri Matangi—and again be divided between the two Ipipiri islands.

This will provide genetic diversity that should be useful for future populations elsewhere.

Tīeke released on Moturua Island.

Tīeke released on Moturua Island

I am thankful for all the support from DOC, Explore Group, and the Air New Zealand Environment Trust.

Tīeke in a tree.

Tīeke/North Island saddleback

For more information on this project visit the Project Island Song website or follow us on Facebook.