Brynderwyn kiwi numbers holding steady
The kiwi breeding season is well under way and male kiwi will be patiently sitting on their eggs waiting for the chicks to emerge at the end of the 80 day incubation period. There is every reason to believe that numbers are gradually increasing in light of this year’s annual kiwi call count monitoring. This is the prime method used to assess population growth or decline and has been undertaken at Marunui Conservation each year since 2014.
At a key listening station a total of 45 male and female calls heard from 6pm to 8pm over four nights were recorded, an increase of 19 calls over last year’s total of 26 and 11 more than was heard in 2016. While there is variation, depending on the weather conditions and the time of the month when the monitoring occurs, John Hawley takes confidence from the figures.
“Measures being taken to protect the birds both inside and outside of Marunui seem to be working. Intensive control greatly increases the survival rate for kiwi and other native species and our volunteer trappers have played an important role in these outcomes.” From March 2014 to June 2018 a significant number of predators have been removed. These include 202 stoats, 367 weasels, 8 ferrets, 54 feral cats, 3506 rats and 568 possums. Rat and possum numbers do not include the many killed by annual baiting.
Other factors contributing to kiwi protection this year have included good dog control and increased community participation in trapping. In March 37 dogs (domestic, farm and pig hunting dogs) underwent kiwi avoidance training. Fifty people attended a trapper training workshop at Mangawhai in June, some wanting to upskill and others keen to learn the basics.
Meanwhile the Waipu Kiwis group has formed on the north side of the Brynderwyns, focusing their attention on the Waipu-Langs Beach area. Their trapping is yielding high predator numbers and is building on and coalescing with Marunui’s work. As a result of these combined efforts to protect kiwi, the Mangawhai/Brynderwyns/ Waipu area has been designated a high value pest control area by Northland Regional Council with generous funding made available in its Long Term Plan, an exciting development.
Volunteer pest trappers controlling predator numbers has been vital to the breeding success of kiwi in the district.