From Fairy Terns to Parakeets
New Zealand’s Bird of the Year Poll – the middle years Part 2: The winners 2010-2014
In the first of this small series of blogs about New Zealand’s Bird of the Year poll (Te Manu Rongonui o Te Tau) which has been run annually since 2005, I introduced the most recent five winners and then sought to match them with stamps that New Zealand had issued. This next set presents more winning birds and stamps and follows the same pattern, rolling backwards with each year’s winners. This time it’s the batch of five between 2010 and 2014.
In 2014 the Tara iti or Fairy Tern was the successful bird chosen. There are three sub-species found in the south-western Pacific and the one that breeds in northern New Zealand – the New Zealand Fairy Tern (Sternula nereis davisae) – is listed as critically endangered. Indeed, it is New Zealand’s rarest native breeding bird and it is believed that there are only about 40 birds remaining, nesting at very specific locations in North Island. Its status is highly precarious. In 2018/19 there were believed to be only five breeding pairs left with the sub-species threatened by introduced predators, weather, tidal conditions and coastal developments.
Regrettably, there is just a single stamp featuring the Tara iti, appropriately issued also in 2014 as part of a series of singles and a mini-sheet of endangered seabirds.