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Ears Primed for Kiwi Calls

Northland kiwi listening ears have been primed over the last few weeks as the annual monitoring season nears completion.

This is the sixth successive year that kiwi listening has been carried out in Northland and the information gathered will provide valuable information about whether the birds are still present at representative sites around the region.

The work forms a part of the Bank of New Zealand sponsored Kiwi Recovery Programme.

Northland is the last major mainland stronghold for North Island brown kiwi. Kiwi can still be heard calling throughout much of the region, a sound that has disappeared from many other parts of the country.

The monitoring programme, which always takes place in May OR June during the dark phase of the moon, involves people sitting quietly for two hours after dark listening for kiwi. The listeners are required to do this for four nights.

Northland advisory scientist Ray Pierce said the data collected is used to determine trends in call counts and therefore populations over time to find out about the responses of kiwi to different management regimes.

thirty sites spread out all over the region are being monitored with both Department of Conservation staff and trained members of the public doing the listening.

Dr Pierce said last year’s survey has showed that stable or increased call counts were coming from places like Trounson Mainland Island and intensive study sites close to Whangarei where management of predators and other pests was intense.

In areas where less management was taking place call counts were down in 1999 showing that a combination of pest control, community support and a high level of awareness about threats facing kiwi were the key to maintaining healthy kiwi populations.

Dr Pierce said this week’s announcement of additional funding for a kiwi zone near whangarei would enable populations to be more effectively defended

it is anticipated that the kiwi zone and other defended areas will increasingly be able to use new predator control methods identified in parallel research on mustelids

the kiwi zone is to include bream head and sites in the Purua-Motatau area where intensive study on factors influencing kiwi survival are being studied.

The results of this year’s kiwi monitoring are expected to be available in September.


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