Pest mammal eradication leads to landscape-scale spillover of tūī (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) from a New Zealand mainland biodiversity sanctuary
|Title||Pest mammal eradication leads to landscape-scale spillover of tūī (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) from a New Zealand mainland biodiversity sanctuary|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2019|
|Authors||Fitzgerald, N, Innes, J, Mason, NWH|
|Type of Article||Full article|
|Keywords||dispersal, ecosanctuary, Maungatautari, pest-fence, Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae, seasonal movement, sink habitat, spillover, tui|
Maungatautari is a 3,240 ha pest-fenced ecosanctuary free of virtually all mammalian predators in Waikato, New Zealand. We used triennial 5-minute counts within the ecosanctuary and biennial surveys of residents up to 20 km from the perimeter pest fence to measure spillover of tūī from Maungatautari into the surrounding area over a 9-year period (2006–2014) following pest eradication. Following pest eradication in the ecosanctuary, tūī relative abundance increased there and in the surrounding largely unmanaged area. The mean number of tūī per 5-minute count within the ecosanctuary was 2.23 (se = 0.163) in 2005 and increased following predator eradication in 2006 to 3.33 (se = 0.206) in 2008, 3.76 (se = 0.193) in 2011, and 2.68 (se = 0.279) in 2014. The mean maximum number of tūī at one time observed by residents in the largely unmanaged area increased from 4.4 (max = 47, n = 320) in 2006 to 15.6 (max = 300, n = 138) in 2014. Tūī numbers in both the ecosanctuary and the surrounding area were positively correlated with time since pest eradication. In the largely unmanaged area surrounding Maungatautari, tūī numbers were also positively correlated with provision of artificial food, and negatively correlated with distance from the ecosanctuary. Wind was negatively correlated with the number of tūī recorded in 5-minute counts at Maungatautari. Our findings show that pest-free ecosanctuaries can facilitate increased abundance of volant birds in surrounding landscapes if habitat is available.