How can we save the rooks.

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
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Re: How can we save the rooks.

Postby bruce.shanks » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:45 pm

The notion that Rooks are extinct in the North Island is erroneous. I have seen them in the last few years at Cambridge, and between Waitakaruru and Miranda.

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Re: How can we save the rooks.

Postby Jake » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:50 pm

And I've routinely seen rooks in Central Hawkes Bay and in Tararua. There was even one towards Himatangi last year. I'm not saying that there's a good number, but they're around. I'm not seeing the big flocks anywhere, like there were 20 years ago, just singles, pairs or small groups.

I see rosellas mentioned as a dangerous bird; what damage/risks are we seeing with them? I don't think they compete with kakariki; kakariki seem to have PBFD antibodies already; they don't do much damage to crops; they're not going to hybridise with anything - I'm not seeing much reason to be bringing them into this
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Re: How can we save the rooks.

Postby Jim_j » Fri Jun 08, 2018 12:22 pm

Rosellas certainly cause crop damage - I know a guy in the Hutt that" controls" them around his fruit trees - kakariki are in such low numbers that it is difficult to tell if there is any impact - there must be some competition for next holes?
My concern is more around future impacts - r/c parakeet would I suspect do well in open & lightly forested country (ie most of rural NZ) in the absence of stoats/rates etc.
However if rosella have already taken this niche - is there going to be room for both species?
Although in saying that they seem to be doing very well round Zealandia where there was a small population of rosella.

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Re: How can we save the rooks.

Postby TedHoward-Huttons » Sat Jun 09, 2018 8:33 am

I lived in Waitakaruru for 34 years prior to moving to Kaikoura 20 years ago, and saw a lot of rooks. About 25 years ago a major effort by locals to eradicate them thinned their numbers considerably in the hills behind Miranda (their biggest rookery).

Last year in Kaikoura I saw a lone rook about 20 times, usually at first light. It wouldn't let me within 200m of it. Haven't seen any this year.

I am not in favour of introducing and allowing any threat to native species, and rooks are certainly that - they are very smart predators, and can easily exterminate other species when in large numbers and hungry enough.

And as others have mentioned, other predators are higher priority - depending on species, but my list in priority order would go something like:
rats, hedgehogs, stoats, weasels, cats, ferrets, dogs, pigs, mice, and a long list follows.
For our ground nesting birds, hedgehogs are number 1, with cats a coming next - and cats probably being worse for the colonial species - particularly terns (which cats show a clear preference for over gulls). For our burrowing birds, it is almost certainly pigs that are the major problem - though mustelids and rats are also problematic.

If I had a chance to easily eradicate rooks, I would most certainly take it.

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