Protecting the night sky

The Detail goes out after dark to find out more about the problems "light trespass" is causing for some of our precious flora and fauna

On summer nights just before dark, ecologist Annette Lees watches streams of young Cook's petrels (tītī) flying overhead on a journey that can take them thousands of kilometres from their nests.

With their inbuilt echo locators, they've flown from Te Hauturu-o-Toi/Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf, to the Tasman Sea to feed.

From her home on Auckland's west coast, Lees can also hear the goat-like bleatings of the tītī. 

But as more artificial light "trespasses" into the night, Lees worries about these little grey and white seabirds.

"When they fledge from Hauturu, they're supposed to be flying off to make a world for themselves beyond in the Pacific, [but] they get attracted back to Auckland city and drawn down to the lights. They can't take off from the ground, they need a sea cliff with lots of breeze to lift their wings and take them away.

Link to podcast and article: The Detail: Protecting The Night Sky | Newsroom


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