Birdsong has evolved to help individual birds attract mates and defend territories. The breeding season is a critical period in the life history of many songbird species and previous studies indicate that bird vocal behaviour changes at the onset of breeding season. In this study, we compared the complex songs of a seasonal-breeding New Zealand honeyeater, the tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae), between breeding and non-breeding seasons.
Three pairs of kiwis were fitted with radio transmitters and followed for two years in a forest remnant in Hawke's Bay. Laying began in late June or July, when both sexes reached peak weight, and usually finished in November. Twelve of 14 nests were in burrows, 470-900 mm long. Females laid 2-5 eggs each season, 21-60 days apart; clutches which failed in the first few weeks of incubation were replaced. Completed clutches comprised two eggs. A second clutch laid after the first had successfully hatched was recorded only once.
Goats were liberated on Raoul Island early in the 19th century. Attempts to eliminate the goats commenced in 1937 and have accounted for at least 15 000 animals. Since 1972, when annual hunting expeditions began, both the number of goats and the area over which they range have steadily declined and the herd is now almost extinct. Despite these changes, the mean group size of goats in 1981-83 remained the same at 3.19, 2.74 and 3.24 respectively. On average, 19% of goats escaped each encounter with the hunters.