The most incredible experience on Lord Howe Island was seeing a wild bird called down out of the air! Our guide was born on the island, he showed us his grandparent’s house as we walked in to the Providence Petrel colony at the western end. We can only guess that he has been doing this all of his life, as he also told us of all the changes he has seen in this area over the years, and on the island which is 600 km from the mainland, as technology very gradually arrived. As we walked he began to Cooeee very loudly, calling the birds who were coming back to their burrows after a day fishing at sea. Each time he called more birds appeared overhead, soon swooping away again. Then suddenly one bird landed at his feet, sat on the ground, and submitted to being picked up and stroked. It was quite reluctant to leave Clive, but eventually we walked on to watch the horizon dark with incoming birds. At dusk we walked back and Clive tried repeatedly to find a chick in a burrow, lying on the ground and putting his gloved hand deep into the spaces under the granite boulders. He had a huge grin when he brought the two day old chick to us, and wisely he would not let us touch it, but went quickly to replace it in the burrow before the returning adult found it missing!
The LHI website states: “Walk the Little Island Track between March and November to view the spectacular aerial courtship displays by the winter breeding providence petrel.One of the world’s rarest birds, the providence petrel returns to the island to nest and can be ‘called’ out of the air, landing at your feet and even climbing into your lap!“