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Bird Song Restored on Urupukapuka Island

by Mary Hamilton | Jul 11, 2016

As of June this year, Urupukapuka Island in the Bay of Islands is now home to 30 new arrivals of Toutouwai (otherwise known as North Island Robins). These dinky birds, native to the North Island of New Zealand, were released onto the island over a period of 10 days following their journey from Pureora Forest in one of our Wilderness motorhomes

Transport in a Wilderness motorhome

This is the second time we’ve helped transport the territorial Toutouwai. They were tucked away safely in our Outback 4 motorhome overnight to minimise stimulation, with full air-conditioning to ensure a comfortable, stress-free journey before they embarked on their last leg to their new home.

Birds on board the motorhome
Birds transport to the island

Project Island Song, a community-based partnership with the Department of Conservation, led the tricky translocation, helping fulfill their mission to bring bird song and biodiversity back to the pest-free islands of Ipipiri, in the eastern Bay of Islands.

Richard Robbins from Project Island Song said the joyous release was the culmination of grit and determination over many days to individually capture each bird. He says the birds’ carefully planned and meticulous journey for a safe arrival in the Bay of Islands couldn’t have been completed without the use of one of our motorhomes.

Bird release

That’s something we’re pretty proud of here at Wilderness, as protecting the rich beauty of New Zealand’s diverse environment is a top priority of ours.

Urupukapuka Island is 514 acres of lush native forest, white sandy beaches and is home to a plethora of forest and reef life. The 30 Toutouwai have joined a number of other birds native to New Zealand, including the Tuturiwhatu (New Zealand dotterel), Torea (oystercatcher), pied stilt and paradise duck. At one point, these birds were flourishing, until pests like rats put then under great threat.

Now, with the islands of Ipipiri being labelled ‘pest-free’, and the help of Project Island Song and their partners and volunteers, our native birds can thrive as they once did in the past.

Toutouwai Reintroduction

If you’re planning a trip to the islands of Ipipiri, there are a few important things we’d like you to remember:
1) Check your belongings for pests such as rats, mice and ants before you leave home. This includes your boat, kayak, tent, backpack and your fishing, camping and picnic gear.
2) Check your clothing and footwear for weed seeds. These can smother native plants.
3) Get ready to enjoy a glimpse of what New Zealand was like in years past!

You can view more photos of the release, or visit the Project Island Song website for more information on this wonderful cause.

  • Wilderness News
  • Environment
  • Bay of Islands


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