Friday, October 1, 2010

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

'LOVE IS IN THE AIR' 

The white-fronted terns' noisy chattering is a sure sign that spring is underway! From now (October) to January these birds will breed on sand dunes, rocky islets and shingle banks around the country. Males court females by delivering fish held crosswise in their bill. I can't help feeling a little sorry for these small fish which are often still alive and kicking as they are held in the male's beak for a few minutes and then offered as a gift... I wonder what the fish is thinking? 

White-fronted Terns (Sterna striata) are the most common tern in New Zealand. Unfortunately recent counts have shown that their numbers are declining quite rapidly!

The reasons for this are not fully known, although it is thought that disturbances to their breeding habitats such as 4WD vehicles and predation from rats, stoats, hedgehogs, black-backed gulls etc. have all contributed to this decline.

White-fronted terns are also known as 'kahawai birds' as they are often seen feeding with schools of kahawai (Australian Salmon) that push krill and small fish like smelt and pilchards to the surface making it easier for the terns to feed. It is therefore also quite likely that the over-fishing of kahawai may also be contributing to their decline.




2 comments:

  1. Hey Jonathan. I was told you took good photos but the images in this blog are superb!

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