Observed responses of captive stoats (Mustela erminea) to nest boxes and metal collars used to protect kaka (Nestor meridionalis) nest cavities
- Department of Conservation, Private Bag 4715, Christchurch, New Zealand
- Pureora Field Centre, Department of Conservation, R.D. 7, Te Kuiti, New Zealand
Artificial barriers, such as nest boxes and metal collars, are sometimes used, with variable success, to exclude predators and/or competitors from tree nests of vulnerable bird species. This paper describes the observed response of captive stoats (Mustela erminea) to a nest box design and an aluminium sheet collar used to protect kaka (Nestor meridionalis) nest cavities. The nest box, a prototype for kaka, was manufactured from PVC pipe. Initial trials failed to exclude stoats until an overhanging roof was added. All subsequent trials successfully prevented access by stoats. Trials with a 590 mm wide aluminium collar were less successful, but this was mainly due to restrictions enforced by enclosure design: Stoats gained access above the collar via the enclosure walls and ceiling. In only one of twelve trials was a stoat able to climb past the collar itself. The conservation implications of these trials and directions for future research are discussed.