MIRO carries out monitoring of birds, possums, rodents and mustelids in the Northern Forest. Urban and adjacent foreshore monitoring of predators takes place as part of the ERAT project.
Bird Monitoring in the Northern Forest
5 minute bird counts were set up in 1999 with the assistance of the Wellington Branch of the Ornithological Society of NZ. The intention is to establish what bird species are present and what is happening to these species over time, especially in response to predator control.
More than 30 species have been recorded in the Northern Forest and the forest is home to many regionally rare Wellington species including tomtit, rifleman, bellbird, whitehead and falcon.
Possum Monitoring in the Northern Forest
Greater Wellington (and more recently OSPRI, as part of their Lower North Island TB-free campaign) have regularly monitored the possum population in the Northern Forest using both Residual Trap Catch and results from chew card monitoring. The most recent value of zero was obtained for a proportion of the Northern Forest that was treated with aerial 1080 in May 2017. For good forest health, MIRO aims to keep the RTC index below 5%.
Rat and Mustelid Monitoring in the Northern Forest
Monitoring of these pests inside and outside the ‘mainland island’ is undertaken quarterly using tracking cards. MIRO volunteers place and retrieve the tracking cards from tracking tunnels that are left permanently in the forest. Greater Wellington analyses and reports on the results. The latest report can be found here.
ERAT Residential Area Monitoring
Levels of pests are monitored in the residential and foreshore areas of Eastbourne using tracking tunnels. This involves placing inked cards in baited tunnels several times each year so that the prints from pests passing through the tunnels are recorded. The cards are analysed so that pest levels are determined, and the trap network can be improved if required. Local schools and scout groups are helping with this side of the project, with some schools already monitoring pests on the foreshore. Our aim here is to help educate the children about both the presence of pests and the native treasures we are trying to protect.
Check out our handy guide to identifying tracks and the creatures that made them:
ERAT tracking result maps