An ambitious 5-year project to map the birds of New Zealand across every part of New Zealand was launched at Queen’s Birthday weekend. It’s called the New Zealand Bird Atlas and organisers are hoping to involve as many New Zealanders as possible in spotting, counting and recording the birds they see … [Read more...] about New Zealand Bird Atlas project launched
Recently there have been several research projects looking at predators in the alpine environments of the South Island. It’s a completely different ecosystem to the much-studied lowland forest systems and there’s still a lot to be learnt about the key predator threats to our alpine species and how … [Read more...] about Latest research from Otago University and DOC investigates rock wren and 1080
The interaction between habitat restoration and predator control is a topic of great interest to us at Predator Free NZ Trust. In 2017 Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research created a series of info-graphics that looked at just that. Focusing on the Cape to City Project, they asked what do bird … [Read more...] about What do bird populations need to thrive?
Rats are bad news for nesting birds – but quantifying exactly how rat density relates to nesting success of our smallest and rarest birds is difficult for a number of reasons. They’re rare – so there’s not a lot of them to study; they are likely to live in remote locations making observation … [Read more...] about Nesting fantails balance predators and weather risks
Our native skinks and geckos have evolved with predators that rely on eyesight to spot them – predatory birds, other lizards and tuatara. For a lizard, having camouflage skin and standing very, very still is a great defence if something bigger is trying to see you – not so great, however, if your … [Read more...] about Flee or freeze – lizard responses to new mammal predators investigated
Weka are omnivores with a curiosity for anything new, which makes them vulnerable to 1080 poison. They’re known to swallow the types of pellets used in 1080 operations and for that reason, learning more about the costs and benefits to weka has been a recent research priority. Department of … [Read more...] about Weka and 1080 – costs and benefits assessed
Insects get eaten too. Scientists have reported that invertebrates have been found in 10-30% of cat guts and scats in the Mackenzie Basin, suggesting high country invertebrates, including some rare endemic grasshoppers, could be vulnerable to introduced mammal predators. Christchurch-based … [Read more...] about Insects get eaten too – so does predator control help grasshoppers?
Sometimes ‘old’ just can’t be beat! That certainly seems to be the case for old forest remnants, at least as far as our indigenous insects are concerned, according to research recently published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology. Urban gardens can be full of plant variety and buzzing with … [Read more...] about Old forest remnant shows its worth
Predator control in kea habitat is mostly by aerial 1080 – and some kea are known to have died from eating the bait. It’s not an outcome that anyone wants to see. So what are the risk factors? What might be done to mitigate those risks and why do leading conservationists, including kea experts, … [Read more...] about Kea survival during aerial 1080 – identifying the risks
Most wild birds and animals don’t survive long if they go blind. Not so, our kiwi. The discovery of otherwise healthy, but blind wild kiwi living successfully on the South Island’s West Coast has revealed just how little kiwi rely on their visual senses. For kiwi, it’s all about smell, hearing … [Read more...] about Blindness no big deal for Okarito wild kiwi