Te Wharau (Eastern Wairarapa, southern North Island). 2 captive-reared birds from National Wildlife Centre released 1993. The idea was to see whether captive-reared birds could survive, to provide information for potential releases in the future. Birds were followed using radio-transmitters, confirming that they survived for at least several months. See Powlesland & Williams (1997).
Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (225 ha mainland restoration area surrounded by a mammal-proof fence), central Wellington, North Island. Reintroduction. Ten kereru rehabilitated after injury have been released into the Sanctuary between 2002 and 2006. The reintroduction is part of the restoration program in the sanctuary following eradication of mammals inside the fence (see http://www.sanctuary.org.nz). Most were jessed with coloured flags to assist with identifying birds after release, but few confirmed observations of these birds have been made. Two pairs of kereru were observed to make courtship flights but breeding success was not confirmed until January 2006 when a kereru chick fledged from a nest in the Sanctuary. Contact Raewyn Empson.
Tiritiri Matangi Island (220 ha, Hauraki Gulf, 30km north of Auckland City). Riflemen were translocated to Tiritiri Matangi in February 2009 (31 birds) and February 2010 (14 birds). The birds were all sourced from Little Barrier Island. Territorial birds were located, and then captured using 25mm set nets (2 per set of poles, placed one above the other) and locally recorded lure calls. Birds were individually held in translocation boxes that offered two perches. They were provided live invertebrates (smallest available mealworms) and half a grape for moisture. Boxes were kept separate, to avoid stress to individuals from the sound of nearby birds, until being transported by helicopter to Tiritiri Matangi, nominally within 6 hours of capture. However, three birds were successfully held for 9.5 hours (two of these were know to subsequently breed). All 45 birds were alive at release on Tiritiri, although one died shortly after release. Birds were noted to pair and establish territories soon after release and 20 of the original 31 individuals were identified as having survived to the start of the 2009/10 breeding season. Four nests were discovered and four other pairs were known to have bred. Contact Simon Fordham or visit Rifleman Conservation & Management Website.
In April 2011, a further 15 birds were translocated from Hauturu / Little Barrier Island to Tiritiri Matangi Island, bringing the total number of translocated birds to 60. Two of the individuals did not survive release, bringing the total number of translocation mortalities to 3 (5%).
In early September 2011, a pre-breeding season catching survey was carried out. Combined with subsequent observations, we identified a minimum of 15 pairs. During October and November, 9 nests we discovered, five in boxes and four natural nests. Although riflemen are predominantly cavity nesters, one nest was discovered in the canopy of a large kanuka.
Ulva Island (269 ha, Paterson Inlet, eastern side of Stewart Island). Reintroduction. In February 2003, 30 birds of mixed age and sex were translocated from Whenua hou / Codfish Island (West Coast of Stewart Island). Ulva Island consists of podocarp forest with coastal muttonbird scrub. Norway rats were eradicated from Ulva in 1995, and robins, mohua and saddlebacks have also been reintroduced. Birds were captured with mist nets (low sets), held in large transfer boxes and avaries, and fed meal worms for up to 2 nights prior to flying to Ulva for immediate. There was a large mortality (50%) during holding. However, at least 21 birds survived the first winter and produced 27 young during the 2003/2004 breeding season, and both founders and offspring bred in the second season. A simple deterministic matrix model at that stage indicated positive annual population growth (l= 1.33) and low risk of short-term extinction (Leech et al.2007).Contact Brent Beaven.
Tiritiri Matangi Island (220 ha, Hauraki Gulf east of Auckland). North Island fernbird were translocated to Tiritiri Matangi in June – August 2001 (13 birds) and June – July 2002 (12 birds). The birds were all sourced from an area of scrubland behind Orewa, which is being cleared for road construction. Territorial birds were located, and then captured using low set nets and locally recorded lure calls. Birds were individually held in insulated translocation boxes that were heavily lined with vegetation. They were provided with water and live invertebrates (mealworms, wax moth larvae, cricket and grasshopper nymphs). Most were transported by boat or helicopter to Tiritiri Matangi within 6 h of capture. However, nine birds were successfully held for 18-24 h. All birds were alive at release on Tiritiri. Fernbird were rarely seen in the two years following release. However, nests have been detected each breeding season since 2001/2002, unbanded birds are abundant, and the most recent survey (November 2005) shows a minimum population of 60 birds is present on the island. It is unknown if fernbird were historically present on Tiritiri Matangi but the translocation was part of the Tiritiri Matangi restoration programme. Contact Kevin Parker.
Ulva Island (269 ha, Paterson Inlet, eastern side of Stewart Island). Reintroduction. In October 2004, 30 birds of mixed age and sex were translocated from Mason Bay Area of Stewart Island. Ulva Island consists of podocarp forest with coastal muttonbird scrub. Norway rats were eradicated from Ulva in 1995, and robins, mohua, riflemen and saddlebacks have also been reintroduced. Birds were captured with mist nets (low sets), held in transfer boxes, and fed wax moth larvae prior to flying to Ulva for hard release within five hours of capture. Two birds died during capture. Contact Brent Beaven.
Kaimohu Island (15 ha, off SW Stewart Island). Introduction. Translocated from Codfish Island, January 1997. The introduction was to safeguard the subspecies, and there is no historical record of fernbirds on Kaimohu. The population did not survive on Kaimohu, which may be due to the small size of the island. Contact Peter McClelland.
Putauhinu Island (141 ha, off SW Stewart Island). Introduction. 23 birds translocated from Codfish Island, November 1997 – January 1998 (4 groups). The previous fernbird population on Putauhinu (off SW Stewart Island) was exterminated by kiore and cats, both of which have been eradicated. The main reason for the reintroduction was to safeguard the subspecies. During preparations for the kiore eradication on Codfish Island (which took place in August 1998) it was found that fernbirds were at considerable risk from aerial brodifacoum poison operations. Contact Peter McClelland.
Bellbirds are found throughout most of New Zealand, but are absent in the northern part of the North Island (the northermost birds are probably in the Coromandel Peninsula). There were unsuccessful attempts to re-establish bellbirds in the Waitakeres (1931) and Whangaparoa Peninsula (1983-84). The only recent translocations have been to:
Waiheke Island (Hauraki Gulf east of Auckland). 30 birds (15 male, 15 female) were translocated from Cuvier Island in August 1990, and another 59 (28 male, 31 female) from Cuvier in February 1991. There had also been 11 birds (6 male, 5 female) translocated from Kaingaroa State Forest in June 1988, and 10 birds (6 male, 4 female) from the same area in May 1989. The birds from Kaingaroa were released immediately, whereas those from Cuvier were held in aviaries at the release sites for 4-7 days and had tree-top feeders with Complan and sugar water available for two weeks after release. The rationale for the translocation was that Waiheke had good-quality forest due to absence of possums. It also does not have ferrets or weasels, but has ship and Norway rats, mice and stoats. It is unknown whether bellbirds occurred on Waiheke historically. Birds dispersed widely and there were many sightings in the weeks following the 1990-91 releases, but there were few sightings after 6 months and none more than 5 years after release. See Lee (2005) or contact John Craig.
Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (225 ha mainland restoration area surrounded by a mammal-proof fence), central Wellington, North Island. Reintroduction. 94 bellbirds have been transferred between 2001 and 2003, all but 2 from Kapiti Island. The reintroduction is part of the restoration program in the sanctuary following eradication of mammals inside the fence (see http://www.sanctuary.org.nz). Tail mounted transmitters were attached to 12 males in 2001 to monitor dispersal, and most birds remained or returned frequently to the Sanctuary during the first month after release. The first successful breeding of a translocated bellbird population was documented in the sanctuary during the 2002/3 breeding season. The key may have been to release males later than females. Two pairs were monitored (one male transferred in 2001, the other 3 birds in 2002) during the 2002/3 breeding season and 24 fledglings were produced. Breeding has occurred every year since then but female survival and recruitment have been problematic, probably due to an increasingly pronounced sex imbalance in favour of males. By 2005/6 breeding season there were 20 territorial males competing for 5 females and losses of the latter occurred during the breeding season probably due to stress. Despite this 29 fledglings were produced. A supplementation of females is planned for 2007. Contact Raewyn Empson.