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Whiteheads to return to Whangarei reserve

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/04/2017

Whiteheads will join North Island robins in making Bream Head Scenic Reserve in Whangarei a place where songbirds thrive from next month.

Forty North Island robins were released into the reserve a year ago and, on May 13, about 100 whiteheads will join them as part of a programme established by the Bream Head Conservation Trust.

Also known as the busy canary, the whitehead, or popokatea, live in noisy, chatty groups that fill forest areas with a tuneful sound.

The trust's chief ranger Adam Willetts says whiteheads have not been seen in the reserve since they became regionally extinct 140 years ago.

"Building on, and alongside the work of the Department of Conservation, we have spent many years restoring the reserve to a healthy, almost predator-free environment and now look forward to having popokatea re-established there," he said.

A team of six volunteers from the trust, along with rangers, will travel to Tiritiri Matangi Island off the Whangaparoa Peninsula in the second week of May to capture up to 100 of the birds using audio lures.

Releasing the whiteheads is the final component in a five-year restoration plan for the reserve.

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