New Zealand robins are thought to be vulnerable to poisoning by sodium fluoroacetate (1080), because individual birds found dead after aerial pest control operations have tested positive for 1080. We investigated the impacts of an aerial 1080 operation (preceded by non-toxic prefeeding) to control brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) on the survival and breeding success of a robin population at Silver Peaks, Dunedin environs, South Island, New Zealand. We monitored the survival of individual marked robins and their nesting success before and after the 1080 application.
We collated 48 surveys of individually banded birds or birds fitted with radio transmitters that were checked before and after 1080 poison (sodium fluoroacetate) baits were aerially distributed to control brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) in New Zealand forests. The surveys were associated with 34 pest control operations from 1986 to 2009 and covered 13 native bird species, of which four were kiwi (Apteryx spp.). Sample sizes ranged from 1 to 46 birds (median 15). In 12 cases a sample of 1 to 42 birds (median 13) was surveyed in an untreated area at the same time.