Changes in passerine populations during ongoing predator control at a community-based conservation project: a case study to evaluate presence-absence surveys
|Title||Changes in passerine populations during ongoing predator control at a community-based conservation project: a case study to evaluate presence-absence surveys|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2014|
|Authors||Masuda, BM, McLean, M, Gaze, P|
|Type of Article||Full Article|
|Keywords||bird monitoring, community groups, ecosystem restoration, Friends of Flora, New Zealand, population index|
The monitoring of endemic birds during the control of introduced mammalian predators is a common practice at community-based conservation projects in New Zealand. We describe long-term trends of endemic passerines monitored using the presence-absence technique during the control of stoats (Mustela erminea) and brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in the Flora Valley, near Nelson, New Zealand. Data collected over an 8 year period by Friends of Flora, a community-based organisation, suggests that bellbirds (Anthornis melanura) significantly increased, while South Island robin (Petroica australis), tomtit (P. macrocephala) and rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris) populations showed little or no change, and grey warblers (Gerygone igata) significantly decreased. All species showed a greater increase during the first 4 years of the survey compared to the second 4 years, which suggests that meso-predator release of rats may have occurred from ~4 years after the start of the surveys. The presence-absence technique is simpler to conduct than the more commonly used 5-minute bird count method, and thus may be better suited for use by the community sector in similar situations.