No 1080 = Flourishing Bird Life

To see Ian’s first article, scroll down to  February 28.

Lake Rotoroa, birds galore

By Ian Bradford

Forest in Nelson Lakes

The mast in 2001/2 in my area of Nelson Lakes was notable for the numbers of rats and mice, and consequently, stoats were often seen too. Did the bird life suffer? Not one little bit.

The bird life around the settlement at Lake Rotoroa where I live, is better than anywhere else in the park. No 1080 is dropped here.  I won’t go through the list of birds I have had on my section. But the list even includes riflemen.

Last autumn I had a native robin sit on my knee for over five minutes. I have had a tomtit nest under my carport most years, and so it goes on. Tui and bellbirds go after nectar in the flowers on the native fuschia just 2m from my lounge window.

Native pigeons sit in the trees. Native parakeets fly overhead. I am fond of and enjoy the birds around. I am angry that DOC is destroying them at a totally unacceptable rate then putting the blame on everything but 1080. 

 Possums unfairly blamed 

Not guilty

I would like to remind readers that 1080 was initially used to kill possums because some were concerned about the spread of TB in farm herds.

This is history now with TB well under control. I am continually angered by the fact that DOC blames possums along with rats and stoats for the demise of our birds.

Possums play very little part in predating birds. We are all well versed in the trick of coating birds’ eggs in nests with aniseed to attract possums. Then the possum is caught on camera in the nest attracted by the aniseed and nothing more.

This is displayed on TV so that people get the impression that possums are attacking the eggs.

1080 is decimating kea and kiwi

1080 is wiping out kea (Credit Clyde Graf)

Since 2008, 155 kea have been monitored during 10 1080 operations. Of which 20 (13%) died after the toxin drop. DoC figures quoted in The Press 2015

In my early years in Nelson Lakes National Park, I spent a lot of time on the tops. It was quite common for flocks of 20 or more kea circling above us.

As 1080 drops became prevalent kea numbers reduced dramatically. For about twenty five years we did not see a single kea. The continued wide scale dropping of 1080 authorised by DOC is directly responsible for killing huge numbers of these birds to the point where there is great concern over the number actually remaining.

What angers me further is the fact that you blame the reduction on “predators”.  Our Kiwi are going the same way. If you analyse what kiwi eat, it is clear 1080 plays a large part in their demise also.

I think it is likely that many more kea than indicated actually died.  I have given the Press article to many people and I am pleased to say that this alone has turned them against DOC.

People want 1080 drops to stop

I am continually amazed as I drive around the South Island at the number of signs erected by landowners all saying “Stop 1080.”

So I come back to what I said initially.  Many well qualified people tell DOC that 1080 kills birds but DOC takes not the slightest notice of them.

Then the Director General turns around and condemn the activists.

No wonder they plan to escalate their activism. It seems it is the only way to make DOC stop using this disgusting chemical.



Ian Bradford,

I consider myself to have a good knowledge of instances where possums have been proven to kill endemic birds and the opinions that people have of such occurrences, but this is the first I’ve heard of possums apparently only eating eggs that are coated in aniseed oil. Is it possible to reveal more about this particular claim?


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