Population trends of braided river birds on the Ashley River (Rakahuri), Canterbury, New Zealand, 1963–2015
|Title||Population trends of braided river birds on the Ashley River (Rakahuri), Canterbury, New Zealand, 1963–2015|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2016|
|Authors||Spurr, EB, Ledgard, NJ|
|Type of Article||Full Article|
|Keywords||Ashley River, braided rivers, gulls, population trends, predator control, shorebirds, terns, threatened species, Waders|
Eight species of nationally declining river birds currently breed on the Ashley River, less than 1 km from the townships of Rangiora, Ashley, and Waikuku Beach. Threats to their breeding include human interference, mammalian predation, and vegetation encroachment in the riverbed. The numbers of at least 3 of these species appear to have declined from 1963 to 2000, in line with national trends. In 2000, a Rivercare Group commenced a public awareness campaign about the plight of the birds, trapping introduced predators, and clearing vegetation in parts of the riverbed. Annual surveys from 2000 to 2015 show a significant increase in numbers of banded dotterel (Charadrius bicinctus), wrybill (Anarhynchus frontalis), black-fronted tern (Chlidonias albostriatus), and pied stilt (Himantopus himantopus). Numbers of the other 4 species, including black-billed gull (Larus bulleri), the most threatened, have not changed significantly, in contrast to declining national trends. We suggest the Rivercare Group’s management actions have contributed to these successes, and support continuation of their actions.