New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2009) 33(1): 32- 39

Breeding success of New Zealand falcons (Falco novaeseelandiae) in a pine plantation

Research Article
Richard Seaton  
John D. Holland  
Edward O. Minot *
Brian P. Springett  
  1. Institute of Natural Resources, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

Productivity data on the New Zealand falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae) were collected from 87 nest sites in Kaingaroa pine plantation during three breeding seasons, 2003 to 2006. On average, 1.81 chicks were successfully fledged per nest, with young reared successfully at 71% of nests. Breeding occurred between August and March, with most eggs laid before December and most chicks fledged by February. Fifteen percent of nests were depredated, 9% contained eggs that failed to develop and 4% failed owing to forestry operations disturbing or destroying nests. No negative impact of 1080 bait or of desiccant or release spray application was recorded on falcon productivity. The population of falcons in Kaingaroa Forest increased during a period of pest control using 1080 bait so we see no reason to discontinue its use. Although impacts from forestry operations were low and restricted to land preparation and harvesting operations, there is potential for adverse impacts to increase. Mechanical forestry operations can continue without negative impacts by avoiding a buffer zone of 100–200 m around an active falcon nest.