26 Mar 2009

Gannet chicks can make flight to Australia

4:34 pm on 26 March 2009

Gannet chicks have been tracked with satellite tags confirming they can fly to Australia from Cape Kidnappers in Hawke's Bay.

Mark Hauber from Auckland University's school of biological sciences says unlike the adult birds, the young gannets took a longer route south towards Stewart Island before turning West to cross the Tasman.

He says fledgling gannets fatten up before their first flight, which can be treacherous and up to 80% of the birds do not make it.

Mr Hauber and his students have satellite tagged 10 gannets in the past two years and hope to look at birds from the Murawai colony next.