Love birds: Hawke's Bay's reintroduced population of tītī may be growing soon

The Department of Conservation is celebrating after discovering the first of their relocated tītī has returned to a burrow in Hawke's Bay - and has brought a partner.

The tītī or Cooks Petrel was largely driven off the mainland by predator species like rats, but a small population was preserved on Little Barrier Island.

Six years ago in 2013, conservation group Poutiri Ao ō Tāne began a relocation programme to reintroduce tītī to the Maungaharuru Range, inland from Napier.

They were brought over as chicks - hundreds of them - in the hopes they would bond with their new surroundings.

The adult petrels will head to sea before hopefully returning to their new mountain home, benefiting the environment. Source: 1 NEWS

Tītī are known to spend years off at sea, and the Maungaharuru population eventually left.

In late 2017 the first of them returned to their man-made nests, and DOC this week was supremely excited to see one of their birds - who they have named Waitangi - has found a mate.

"The camera watching Waitangi’s burrow has picked up some more wonderful news – a friend appears to be sharing the burrow," Poutiri Ao ō Tāne wrote on its Facebook page.

"Fingers crossed for the pitter patter of a chick soon!"

The project has also reintroduced a number of other native bird species to the area in the hopes they will stay, including the Kōrure (mottled petrel), Kākāriki and Kākā.