Estimates of abundance, age structure and sex ratio are essential for monitoring the status of populations. We report the first attempt to reliably estimate these parameters in a population of the recently discovered Raukumara tusked weta (Motuweta riparia), which is found almost entirely near streams. On two occasions we searched a 211-m section of creek for 4–5 successive nights and individually marked all weta. We estimated abundance of adults and juveniles using closed-population mark-recapture analysis.
Hihi (Notiomystis cincta) were reintroduced to Mokoia Island, Lake Rotorua, New Zealand, in September 1994, and two years later there was an aerial drop of brodifacoum cereal pellets aimed to eradicate mice (Mus musculus). Using Program MARK, we analyzed data from resighting surveys to assess whether hihi had lower than normal survival in the 6-week interval following the drop. The resighting data were collected on a regular basis over a 3-year period, from 1994-97, allowing us to control for yearly and seasonal variation in resighting and survival probabilities.
Several recent studies have used "roll calls"—searches for individually-marked birds—to assess impacts of aerial poison operations on non-target species. Roll calls have advantages over methods such as 5-minute bird counts, call counts, and dead body counts, but roll calls are based on the assumption that detection rates are 100%, or that detection rates are constant over time and space. They also require more than one group of birds, at a poisoned and unpoisoned site for example, for valid statistical comparisons.