Updated: Mar 4, 2022
Welcome to Autumn.
For those with a trap - we'd really appreciate it if you could take this quick survey. 3 questions. Promise.
Thanks in advance.
Your Stats Please
If you haven't already, could you please let me know how many predators you've eliminated since you last told me? We need to report.
If you want you can access TrapNZ yourself to record yourself.
Let me know if you'd like instructions.
Traps Available April
In the past I dropped traps to peoples doors. Lovely way to meet people but not very efficient.
Now we are covering Herne Bay, Ponsonby, Freemans Bay & St Mary's Bay (5,000 additional dwellings) we're going to ask people to come to Cox's Bay Park to pick them up.
If you haven't got a trap please go here for instructions on how to get one.
Our next date is Saturday 9th April at 11am.
We need volunteers to help distribute leaflets to promote the trap pickup in Cox's Bay Park.
Great way to get some more steps in and a good way to give back to the community and our environment. Easy too!
You can do as much or as little as you want.
Get involved by replying to this email.
Despite threats in the past we really are ready to go now.
With all the lockdowns and the summer break things have been a bit slow here at Predator Free Herne Bay ~ Ponsonby.
But we've distributed a lot more traps; in September 2021 we had 23 traps. Now we have 53.
We've distributed our first trap exactly 2 years ago.
And we're still recording predators being eliminated.
We're pleased to report that June from Masons Ave won the Protector of the Birds award for Spring. June eliminated nine rats and mice.
Bruce got 11 but he won last time and someone else needs a go.
Next was Nick from Wharf Road with 8 and me (Guy) from Jervois Road with 5.
Congratulations and thank you to everyone that made the effort to set their traps.
If it's been a while why not set your trap now.
Here is James from Masefield Avenue. Winner last season.
And here is June from Herne Bay winning chocolates and telling me more about the dangers of mice!
Mice - What I've learned
I never really worried about mice. After all rats and possums look scary and can get ugly when cornered.
But the poor mouse - we had them as pets as kids. Aaw.
June has eliminated more mice than anyone in our group. And she showed me the National Geographic article on them and now I understood the importance of eliminating them.
They are actually the world's most successful mammal (not the rat). They've conquered the world.
The number of lizard species in NZ is extraordinary. New Zealand has more lizard species than of native birds. Big ones, small ones and old ones (the Tuatara may live 200 years). Take a look at some here.
More species are being discovered all the time.
Mice are extremely effective at predating our lizards, Weta and slugs.
They have a lot of babies. They will live happily in a freezer if there is food. They go up into the snowline and munch the hibernating lizards while they sleep.
And as we destroy rats the mice become more abundant.
As a country we've focused on the larger predators - and ignored the mice.
There is no easy way to get rid of them. Brodifacoum can't really be used for mice in the mountains or forests or fenced in areas.
June has nailed a lot of mice. She uses mice traps with peanut butter. Apparently the Victor rat traps supplied don't really get them.
Thanks for the info June. We'll see if we can get some mice traps too :)
The kākāpō Facts department
Fossil records indicate that in pre-Polynesian times, the kākāpō was New Zealand's third most common bird
The kākāpō is probably the one of the world's longest-living birds, with a reported lifespan of up to 100 years.
The heaviest; males can weight up to 4kg. They can pile on the fat prior to a breeding season.
Red lines here are breeding seasons. They almost went extinct.
Every kākāpō alive and, sadly, recently departed. has a name. You can take a look at those here.
This is Solstice. Solstice was the lucky last kākāpō found on Stewart Island/Rakiura in 1997.
She's around 2kg.
Her maternal instincts aren't the best so her chicks are all raised by hand (possibly from inexperience, egg failure and rat predation in the past).
Because kākāpō passed through a genetic bottleneck, in which their world population was reduced to 49 birds, they are extremely inbred and have low genetic diversity. This manifests in lower disease resistance and fertility problems: 40% of kākāpō eggs are infertile.
Beginning in 2015, the Kākāpō 125 project aimed to sequence the genome of all living kākāpō, as well as some museum specimens – the first time an entire species has had its genome sequenced.
The Kākāpō mums start preparing for a new chick when they hear sounds coming from the egg. Prepared mums give better care during the critical first days of a chick’s life.
So DOC has been trialing Smart Eggs; they replace the real egg with the smart egg which makes sounds in the hope that will help the mums get prepared earlier.
There are currently around 201 living birds.
Thanks for the wonderful work everyone is doing.