Sunday, July 25, 2021

Changes in the observed bird abundance in a modified forest at Kowhai Bush, Kaikoura

TitleChanges in the observed bird abundance in a modified forest at Kowhai Bush, Kaikoura
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsBarnett, C
Type of ArticleArticle
Keywords5-minute bird counts, bird abundance, Kaikoura, Kowhai Bush, point counts

Kowhai Bush in the Kaikoura region represents an important wildlife reserve for some native forest bird species. It is home of 1 of the few populations of brown creepers (Mohua novaeseelandiae) and South Island robins (Petroica australis) in lowland forest in the Canterbury region. Here, I present results from 275 five-minute point counts that were conducted at Kowhai Bush from October until December from 1999 to 2001. I compare these data with those collected by Gill (1980) in the same months of 1976 at similar sites. These comparisons reveal that the observed abundance and composition of the species at Kowhai bush has changed between 1976 and 1999-2001. Overall, there was a decline in bird abundance between 1976 and 1999-2001 and there was a significant difference in bird abundance between the 2 habitats in which counts were undertaken at Kowhai Bush. At a species level, there were dramatic declines (>50%) in the observed abundances of brown creepers and South Island robins whilst blackbirds (Turdus merula), redpolls (Carduelis flamea), and European goldfinches (C. carduelis) had more modest, but still significant declines. These declines were offset somewhat by large increases (>50%) in the observed abundances of silvereyes (Zosterops lateralis), and song thrushes (Turdus philomelos) and significant increases in the observed abundances of bellbirds (Anthornis melanura) and chaffinches (Fringilla coelebs). I discuss a number of factors that might be responsible for these changes.

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