In an unexpected turn of events, the endangered tūturiwhatu, also known as the New Zealand dotterel, has chosen a bustling airport as its nesting sanctuary. Auckland Airport, known for its constant noise and activity, has become a safe haven for these precious birds, thanks to tall fences that keep out their predators.
The Auckland Airport, which usually serves as a hub for planes and passengers, has become a peaceful refuge for the tūturiwhatu. Four pairs of dotterels have been recorded nesting in the green areas alongside the airport's outer runways this year. The airport's wildlife manager, Lucy Hawley, explained that the high fences surrounding the airport prevent the bird's invasive predators from entering, making it an attractive nesting spot for the dotterels.
Despite the noise and movement of giant planes, the dotterels pay no heed and have no qualms about raising their young beside the taxiways. Over the past decade, approximately 80 dotterels have hatched on the airport's taxiways, with the parents typically arriving between November and December.
To ensure the safety and well-being of these endangered birds, the airport has collaborated with professional wildlife biologists who have banded some of the birds to track their movements and nesting behavior.
This heartwarming story showcases how what may seem like a hindrance to one species can become a sanctuary for another. The Auckland Airport's tall fences and green areas have provided a unique nesting habitat for the tūturiwhatu, allowing them to thrive amidst the airport's bustling environment.