To measure the costs and benefits of an aerial 1080 possum control operation to kereru and kaka in Whirinaki Forest Park, individuals of both species were radio-tagged from October 1998 to June 2002. We monitored birds in one treatment and one non-treatment study area to compare toxin-related mortality, nesting success and survival. The poison operation involved the spreading of non-toxic carrot baits on 1 May 2000, and the toxic baits on 17/18 May 2000.
Worldwide declines in bird numbers have recently renewed interest in how well bird–plant mutualisms are functioning. In New Zealand, it has been argued that bird pollination was relatively unimportant and bird pollination failure was unlikely to threaten any New Zealand plants, whereas dispersal mutualisms were widespread and in some cases potentially at risk because of reliance on a single large frugivore, the kereru (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae). Work since 1989, however, has changed that assessment.
Production lands make up 58% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s landcover and contribute greatly not only to the national economy but also to patterns and trends in native and introduced avian biodiversity. However, unlike in native forest and other indigenous habitats, birds in agro-ecosystems have received little attention to date.