North Island robin

Intraspecific adoption and foster feeding of fledglings in the North Island robin

Intraspecific foster feeding and adoption has rarely been observed in birds, with the exception of waterfowl. In this study, I document for the first time the existence of intraspecific foster feeding and adoption of fledglings by adult passerines with their own young. During a three-year study of the North Island robin (Petroica longipes), a species with very low levels of extra-pair paternity, eight fledglings (4% of the fledglings in the population the study years) were fed by adults other than their parents, with four of these being adopted.

Costs and benefits of aerial 1080 possum control operations using carrot baits to North Island robins (Petroica australis longipes), Pureora Forest Park

Large scale aerial poison operations with 1080-carrot baits are used extensively to control possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) populations in New Zealand forests for ecosystem conservation purposes and to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis. Although various procedures have been implemented to reduce the incidence of bird kills, dead birds continue to be found after poison operations.

Consistency, continuity and creativity: long-term studies of population dynamics on Tiritiri Matangi Island

One of the quandaries faced by ecological researchers is whether they should continue to invest in ongoing projects or whether they should shift their attention to new species or systems that may have received less attention. While research on Tiritiri Matangi has touched on a wide range of species and topics, the long-term projects on the reintroduced robin population (20 years) and hihi population (17 years) have accounted for the bulk of the published research, with 57 papers featuring these populations published to the end of 2009.

Using artificial nests to predict nest survival at reintroduction sites

Artificial nests are frequently used to assess factors affecting survival of natural bird nests. We tested the potential for artificial nests to be used in a novel application, the prediction of nest predation rates at potential reintroduction sites where exotic predators are being controlled. We collected artificial nest data from nine sites with different predator control regimes around the North Island of New Zealand, and compared the nest survival rates with those of North Island robin (Petroica longipes) nests at the same sites.