The size and distribution of colonies of burrow-nesting petrels is thought to be limited partly by the availability of suitable breeding habitat and partly by predation. Historically, the availability of safe nesting habitat was restricted in New Zealand, due to the introduction of rats by humans. More recently, however, habitat has been restored by rat eradication. Petrel colony growth is mediated by both positive and negative density dependence, although it is unclear if, or how, density dependence will affect patterns in post-eradication colony recovery.
Rakiura Maori annually harvest sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) chicks from islands in Foveaux Strait and adjacent to Stewart Island, New Zealand. Chick availability and the number of chicks harvested were estimated during the 1994 and 1995 seasons on Poutama (Evening Island). Burrow entrance densities estimated using circular plots were significantly higher in 1994 (0.45 ± 0.03 per m) than in 1995 (0.41 ± 0.03 per m). A similar burrow entrance density (0.45 ± 0.04 per m) was obtained in 1995 using a transect sampling technique.