Farewell Spit is home to the South Island’s largest gannet colony. In 1983 about 70 pairs of gannets established nests on shelly banks here at the north-west tip of the South Island. The location can be hazardous for gannet chicks, as their nests are only a few metres above normal high-tide level. During a severe storm in January 1997, waves washed away most of the chicks on their nests. However, the colony survived and by 2000 it numbered between 2,000 and 3,000 adult birds.
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