Current census methods rely on detecting birds calling from their burrows in response to playback of recordings of the species’ calls. Concern has been expressed over the accuracy, precision and efficiency of these “playback” methods. Even when nests are known to be occupied, response rates are typically low, gender specific and are known to vary among colonies and years. The method is very labour intensive, and for colonies with large areas of nesting habitat, a sampling approach is necessary, which often leads to large confidence limits and low power to detect changes in population size.
This project seeks to improve existing playback methods and evaluate novel approaches emerging from advances in technology such as infra-red imaging, which may offer more cost-efficient and precise approaches.