A big jump in the number of tui visiting Hamilton is predicted next year as the impact of a successful breeding project kicks in.
Environment Waikato expects a bumper tui breeding season at its Hamilton Halo project sites this spring, thanks to a highly successful winter of pest control operations. This is expected to produce results by next winter.
EW aims to attract more tui to the city by wiping out the birds’ two main predators – ship rats and possums – at breeding sites near the city.
It is currently controlling the pests at one Whatawhata site and two sites near Cambridge, Maungakawa Scenic Reserve and Te Miro Reserve. There is around 850 hectares of native bush under protection.
The regional council devised a special pest control programme to kill the rats using more than 1300 bait stations across the three sites.
Pest control took place in August and September, before the October tui breeding season.
EW councillor Paula Southgate said the results of a recent rat census were excellent, with only 2.2 per cent of the 225 tracking tunnels registering rat footprints, compared with up to 41 per cent before pest control.Estimates from Landcare Research were that nesting success could increase from around 25 per cent to 75 per cent.
There were also reports that native seedlings were flourishing on the forest floor without possums and rats around. Other native birds, such as kereru and bellbirds, are also expected to benefit from the programme.