Oi season is back!

Oi season is starting again! We've had reports from coastal landowners that they are hearing the birds in the evenings and early mornings with their characteristic whooping (hear for yourself on our Oi video), and we've seen the birds swooping and chasing each other on dark and windy nights. Our team has started work around the Oi burrows, including the installation of 24-hour observation cameras, which have picked up Oi activity at all of our burrows. This work will be ongoing until December - when young Oi chicks fledge. We were especially excited to see activity in an area of burrows that we discovered at the end of last season with the species dog, Rua. This season we're extended our network of traps to protect these new burrows.

Birds will continue to visit through May: prospecting young birds as well as mature breeding birds that aim to meet their mate and establish successful nesting sites. Adults will then head back to sea and won't return until July to lay an egg. Both parents share incubation of the egg and chick rearing. Once hatched, around November, the chick is left alone in the burrow - sometimes for up to 2 weeks ! - and fed at irregular intervals until they fledge in mid to late December.

The monitoring team tracks progress of the adults and chicks to ensure their best chance at survival. There is very little interference with the birds because most of the monitoring is done by using 24 hour field cameras and specialised monitoring techniques. Our team are trained to do this well and as sensitively as possible. Traps will be checked regularly to help protect breeding sites. As we progress, volunteers will increase these checks to weekly or even more frequently.

Its really quite amazing these little chicks can now successfully survive in areas along the Karioi coastline where we have intensive predator control in place! Thanks to our many volunteers that check traps, Backyard Hub members that do their bit in their own backyard, and landowners who allow us to work on their land where Oi burrows are present.

This year, we are excited to once again be working closely together with our partners Te Iwi Tahi Pest control to establish and increase predator control in priority areas.

We move forward with hope for 2018 chicks in Whaingaroa!

Rebecca Towle