Saturday, 8 November 2014

Vote for Westland petrels

The Westland Petrel may be the only bird species in the world discovered by school kids.

And what's more it was discovered by New Zealand school kids - in Barrytown on the South Island's West Coast

Here's the story

The kids at Barrytown School were listening to a person on the local radio talking about some birds that were nesting nearby. The person said they were muttonbirds.

These kids were smart New Zealand kids - and they knew their muttonbirds. They reckoned that what the person on the radio said was wrong. The birds didn't seem like muttonbirds at all. (They were nesting in a different season for a start!)

So the kids' teacher got someone to bring one of these 'muttonbirds' into the class.

True - it looked a bit a muttonbird - but it was also different. The class got the bird sent off to be examined by a scientist.

Guess what?

The results came back and it was a whole new species that no one in the world knew about.

These birds are now called 'Westland petrels', and the only place on the planet where they breed and nest is in one small spot on the West Coast of New Zealand

Thanks to kids, bird experts now know about Westland petrels and can help keep them safe. The small Westland petrel population has started to grow - but these birds still face many threats.

Why Westland petrels need you

They're tough, sturdy birds that can live a long time. But despite their bravado, they really need your help. They get caught by fishing nets; predators attack them; and what if anything happened to the one and only place where they live?

They're also really fun to imitateListen to their noises here.

Vote for these birds - the Westland petrels - and their special relationship with New Zealand kids  at

(Scroll right down - they're the second to last bird on the list.)

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