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    Author(s): E.B. Spurr; C.J. Ralph
    Date: 2006
    Source: Landcare Research Science Series No. 32. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand. 25 pp.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (631.0 KB)


    A workshop on monitoring terrestrial (land) bird populations in New Zealand was held on 11 December 2005, following the Australasian Ornithological Conference, St Mary's Parish Centre, Blenheim, New Zealand. The primary objective of the workshop was to consider options for the design and implementation of a terrestrial breeding bird population survey for New Zealand. It was not an objective to make recommendations for particular options, but some recommendations did emerge:

    • The main objective of monitoring terrestrial breeding birds should be to provide reliable, robust, and spatially explicit information on the long-term population trends of bird species inhabiting representative terrestrial habitats throughout New Zealand.
    • The whole of the country (including North, South, Stewart and a range of smaller offshore islands) should be covered.
    • The full range of terrestrial habitat types should be targeted and habitat information collected at sampling locations.
    • All species (both indigenous and introduced) should be recorded regardless of whether or not they are “priority” species.
    • A few broad strata should be used and sampled randomly or in some other way.
    • Sampling should be encouraged at fixed permanent sites.
    • A formal sampling design should be followed but informal (convenience) sampling should be allowed.
    • A pilot study should be undertaken using two (near and far) or possibly three distance bands for point counts (and possibly for line transects in open country) of all species detected in selected parts of 1-km squares of the national grid.

    Issues that still need addressing include:

    • Stratification of habitats and/or geopolitical areas into a few broad strata.
    • Dealing with places where access is difficult.
    • Location of sampling sites within grid squares (e.g. alone or in clusters?).
    • Sampling technique/s (e.g. 5-minute point counts and/or some form of line transect count?).
    • Time of day and time of year for sampling.
    • Data-handling systems.
    • Funding.

    These issues should be considered at a subsequent workshop or “virtual” workshop and/or by a small working group in consultation with relevant experts, and a draft breeding bird survey designed and circulated to interested people for comment.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Spurr, E.B. and C.J. Ralph (compilers) 2006. Development of bird population monitoring in New Zealand: Proceedings of a workshop. Landcare Research Science Series No. 32. Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, Canterbury, New Zealand. 25 pp.

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