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Dotterels prefer mown, short grass so keeping the grass long will help deter them from choosing to nest in the construction areas

Grass left long to protect dotterels

The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) is deliberately letting the grass grow long on sections of Auckland’s Northern Motorway to help protect endangered dotterels in the area.


Several nesting dotterel pairs and chicks have made their homes in Albany and other sections of the Northern Motorway, north of Auckland, and work is now underway to prevent them from moving into areas that may become construction sites as part of the Northern Corridor Improvements project.

“The community’s efforts to respect dotterel nesting areas on the North Shore over many years has led to an increase in numbers being recorded by ecologists, and we don’t want these birds to be disturbed by construction activity,” says Carol Bannock, the NZTA’s environmental specialist.

“Ecologists tell us that dotterels prefer mown, short grass and construction sites, and experience has shown that keeping the grass long will help deter them from choosing to nest in the construction areas. We appreciate the grass might look a bit unkempt as a result, and hope people support us in doing all we can to protect these special birds.”

Stick to the path

Ms Bannock says residents and visitors can also help the NZTA to protect these sites by keeping off the long grass and sticking to the mown edge and walking paths, not littering and keeping all dogs on a leash.

Ecologists will be onsite every week between now and the end of summer to check for any signs of dotterels and will work with the NZTA to help protect any dotterels that are determined to nest in the area.

Construction of the Northern Corridor Improvements project is due to start in stages from next year, pending approvals at a board of inquiry hearing.

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