Published on 26 September 2018

Improving our trapping with trail cams

During the past weeks, as little blue penguin (Eudiptula minor) and grey-faced petrel (Pterodroma macroptera) eggs started to hatch, we decided to step up our trapping game. I got my hands on a Moultrie a-20i trail camera and installed it to monitor a couple of traps in the heart of the grey-faced petrel breeding grounds here in Piha.

The camera is triggered by movement and is configured to capture footage for 10 seconds after having first detected a movement. After being on site for a week, I retrieved it and found good footage of rat, possum and yes, grey-faced petrel!

The possum footage was a bit of a surprise, so we decided to set a Timms trap in the same spot. To avoid accidental catches of birds (although unlikely to happen) I thought that an elevated platform would be appropriate. I got inspired by some wooden-made platforms that I saw when I was volunteering in some kiwi territory down south a couple of years ago and decided to build our own.

Timms on an elevated platform

Timms trap fixed on an elevated platform to avoid birds getting caught.

The trap has proved to work and poses zero risk to the birds, which is great. While I was servicing the trap at home I set the camera on the same spot and got this great footage from little blue penguin.

We hope that our tiny contribution makes the area safer for petrels and penguins alike and we'll have plenty of fledged chicks by the end of the breeding season. 

If you have comments or questions about this particular setup or trapping in general just get in touch.