Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Possum control and bird recovery in an urban landscape, New Zealand

Published source details

Johnstone Macleod L., Dickson R., Leckie C., Stephenson B.M. & Glen A. S. (2015) Possum control and bird recovery in an urban landscape, New Zealand. Conservation Evidence, 12, 44-47

Summary

In New Zealand invasive brushtail possums Trichosurus vulpecula reduce nesting success of native birds and compete with them for food. As an urban biodiversity initiative, intensive possum control was carried out in a residential area on Napier Hill, North Island. Bird species were monitored using  five-minute point counts, conducted once before the possum control programme and then annually for a further five years afterwards. Significant increases in the relative abundance of bellbird Anthornis melanura and tui Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae were attributed to an increase in food supply due to reduced competiton from possums. Kereru Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae numbers remained relatively stable and a significant decline was recorded in the relative abundance of silvereyes Zosterops lateralis. Management of possum populations will be continued to try to further improve native bird abundance on Napier Hill.