Protecting birds

We are very worried about shrinking bird populations in French Polynesia. Locals burn down motus for more palm tree plantations, but also cruisers unthinkingly disturb the few remaining ‘wild’ little islands.

If you get lucky and find one of those motus with shrubs, high, deciduous trees and circling birds explore with care: you might see red-footed boobies nesting in trees, frigate birds, noddies and white terns next to them. If tiny, sparrow-like creatures follow you around, you’ve encountered endangered endemic Tuamotu sandpipers (‘Titi’ in Polynesia)! Brown boobies, masked boobies and tropic birds nest on beaches, are therefore most vulnerable and have already become extinct in most places. Only tiny colonies of crested terns and sooty terns (they nest on rocky islands) remain.

When you anchor off a motu with birds be careful not to disturb those last refuges and observe from the distance:
- don’t light fires
- don’t have beachparties
- don’t walk dogs
- don’t go kitesurfing in the vicinity

Even a harmless beach walk can shy parents away long enough to end lethal for a small chick…

Young boobies are very curious and will plunge-dive relentlessly on a trolled lure. It’s best to roll in the fishing line, whenever they are around!

Find more info about the birds of French Polynesia on the webpage of the ornithologist society www.manu.pf

Brown Booby

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