Another Chatham Petrel Chick Fledges from Sweetwater

Following the creation of the predator free Sweetwater Conservation Covenant primarily for the protection of breeding taiko, this location showed great potential to be incredibly useful for other seabird species as well. In 2008, the Trust secured funding to transfer the first 47 Chatham petrel chicks from Rangatira to Sweetwater. Over the course of the next three years, a total of 200 chicks were moved.

Chicks are thought to remain out at sea for the first three to four years of their life before returning to land to breed. Like most seabirds, Chatham petrel chicks are highly faithful to the site from which they fledged. Consequently, chicks from Sweetwater should return to this site to breed.

Since 2012, transferred Chatham petrels have been breeding in the artificial burrows at Sweetwater, fledging a total of three chicks. This was the highest number of petrel chicks recorded on Main Chatham since their extirpation over 500 years ago. This summer, there were two breeding pairs - sadly, one egg did not hatch, but this is a normal occurrance in seabirds. The other egg hatched successfully, and the chick fledged, increasing the total number of fledged Sweetwater chicks to four. This marks a major accomplishment in the conservation history of this species.

For more information on the Trust's Chatham petrel project, please visit the Trust Projects page.