The Department of Conservation has been successful in using 'skyranger' to track down new breeding burrows of taiko for a fourth year running, with very promising results! The high tech electronic tracking device captures signals from transmitters that are attached to the tail feathers of taiko, which have been caught and released at the 'lights operations' in southern Chathams.
The Air Chathams Cessna flew several 'grids' over the South Chathams last month with the 'skyranger' on board. Where the equipment was successful in detecting a bird, DOC staff then undertake a ground search at night in the area identified to try to find the burrow. So far two new taiko burrows have been found quite a distance from the known area of taiko burrows that DOC manages.
This season we have 13 known breeding burrows from a total of 18 pairs of birds, an increase of five pairs from the 2011 season. The new pairs this season include birds tracked to new burrows and pairings resulting from introductions made during lights operations over the last three years. The extra burrows discovered are a significant gain for the future of taiko.