In the “Pāteke survival guide

Pāteke are most conspicuous at flock sites in the summer months. Although not all birds in the catchment area will be present at flock sites, they do provide an opportunity to index the local population with the objective of determining long-term trends in the total population. Flock site monitoring should comprise:

  • Three counts in late summer (e.g. February) preferably at least a week apart and in the middle of the day. If a flock site is tidal, restrict counts to one specific tidal time—carry out pilot counts to determine which part of tidal cycle (usually high tide) gives the highest counts and with low variability between counts.

Other monitoring can include:

  • Determining how many ducklings fledge (productivity) if one or more pairs are easily observed.
  • Recording monthly rainfall, grazing regimes (livestock, number, sward level)
  • Predator captures and sightings of live dogs, mustelids and cats, all of which help answer questions of how the birds are doing in different years and different environmental conditions and enable trapping regimes to be modified.
  • More intensive monitoring at release sites (via telemetry and trained dogs—refer to DOC).
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