Cook's Petrels disorientated by bright lights in Auckland

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Ian McLean
Posts: 87
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Cook's Petrels disorientated by bright lights in Auckland

Postby Ian McLean » Sat May 09, 2020 3:15 pm

Kia ora

I thought that I would just make people aware of an issue in Auckland with Cook’s Petrels being disorientated by bright lights.

A resident in Green Bay has advised me that he has found three Cook’s Petrels in his garden over the month of April. Unfortunately all three birds were found dead & had either been predated or found already dead by the neighbour’s cat. The address is along Harrybrook Road in Green Bay which is on a clifftop overlooking the Manukau Harbour. There are two bright street lights right on the cliff, where Harrybrook Road merges into Cleve Road.

Please note the attached three pictures for your reference. One photo is of one of the dead petrels & the two are the street lights.

Unfortunately, this example may just be a fraction of Cook’s Petrel mortality caused by bright lights. It looks like the birds (most likely Juveniles in April) are flying across the Auckland isthmus between the Hauraki Gulf to the Tasman Sea only to become disorientated by the bright lights on the clifftop. I expect that the birds are flying over the narrow points of the isthmus i.e. New Lynn/Green Bay/Blockhouse Bay & Tamaki River/Otahuhu (as a Cook’s Petrel was found at St Kentigans College in Pakuranga last year). I also expect that this could be a rather unnoticed problem & there could be many more birds dying unseen.

As a result, if anyone living in Auckland has noticed this mortality, please let me know of the details. I am hoping to provide the Auckland Council with information & encourage them to have the clifftop lights to be modified in some way e.g. with shrouds added, so the light was only directed downwards.

I would very much appreciate any assistance in collecting data on this issue. Please email any details to

Kind Regards
Ian McLean.
Harrybrook Road Lights #2.jpg
Harrybrook Road Lights #2.jpg (34.04 KiB) Viewed 123 times
Harrybrook Road Lights #1.jpg
Harrybrook Road Lights #1.jpg (16.85 KiB) Viewed 123 times
Cook's Petrel by Stephen Cole.jpg
Cook's Petrel by Stephen Cole.jpg (78.69 KiB) Viewed 123 times

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