As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Mass beech tree flowering points to potential pest plague

Monday, 2 December, 2013 - 10:53

Beech trees are currently flowering heavily across the country and could lead to a plague of predators next year putting some rare bird populations at risk says the Department of Conservation.

Beech generally seeds only every four to five years but climatic conditions over the last two summers-a cool summer followed by a warm one-appears to have triggered the onset of a bumper seed or beech mast year.

DOC Director-General Lou Sanson says the widespread flowering will generate large quantities of seed falling onto forest floors next autumn and this abundant food supply is likely to fuel an explosion in mice, rat and stoat numbers from next winter.

"Our biggest concern is that when seed supplies run out next winter, large numbers of rodents and stoats will turn on vulnerable species like threatened forest birds, endangered bats and New Zealand’s unique giant land snails."

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