Monday, June 26, 2017

The breeding biology of northern white-faced storm petrels (Pelagodroma marina maoriana) and results of an in-situ chick translocation

TitleThe breeding biology of northern white-faced storm petrels (Pelagodroma marina maoriana) and results of an in-situ chick translocation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsRayner, MJ, Young, MK, Gaskin, CG, Mitchel, C, Brunton, DH
JournalNotornis
Volume64
Issue2
Pagination76-86
Type of ArticleFull article
Keywordschick growth, Mokohinau Islands, provisioning, Storm petrel, translocations
Abstract

As ecosystem engineers, petrels are integral to ecological restoration schemes seeking to restore land sea nutrient pathways. Yet the current ranges of many petrel species are vastly reduced due to marine and terrestrial threats. Chick translocation is a demonstrated management tool for establishing seabird populations but is dependent on detailed knowledge of species breeding biology. We studied the breeding biology of white-faced storm petrel (Pelagadroma marina maoriana) on Burgess Island, Hauraki Gulf, northern New Zealand, and undertook an onsite chick translocation to investigate the efficacy of current petrel translocation practices for this relatively small species. During our study, breeding extended from August 2011 to February 2012 with hatching occurring on 6 December ± 1.2 days, a chick rearing period of 68.1 ± 0.9 days and fledging on 12 February ± 1.2 days. There was no desertion period by provisioning adults and burrow emergence began 2–6 nights before fledging. Chick growth was typical of Procellariiformes with chick mass (mean = 66.2 ± 1.7 g) peaking at 12.2 ± 1.7 days before fledging. There was no age-related change in the nightly probability of provisioning (0.54) or meal mass (mean = 7.8 ± 0.3 g). Translocated chicks fed a sardine puree diet for 11–20 days before fledging had significantly lighter fledging weights than a control group of adult provisioned chicks, but did not differ in wing length or the duration of burrow emergence before fledging. Our data suggest that translocations of white-faced storm petrel using supplementary feeding of chicks may be possible using slightly modified current feeding practices and could provide an option for expanding populations of endangered storm petrels.

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