5 Minute Bird Count

5 min bird counts allow us to keep track of the increased impact predator control has on birdlife in the Eastern Bays. Anybody can do them, the important thing is consistency in the time of day, place you count and method you use. We need to build up a database over several years to monitor changes in bird populations in our community.

We undertake our bird counts twice each year, within a given 2 week period.

We ask people to count as close as possible to 9am on any day within these 2 week periods (but starting anytime between 8am and 930am is great).


Record your bird count

Submit your bird count using our online form
or alternative using the paper form.

Instructions for hosting a rat trap:

Thank you for hosting a rat trap. You will be helping New Zealand to become predator free and welcoming the birds back into our community. Trapping these pests is easy and rewarding to do and this guide will give you all the basics you need to get started. The trap is provided on a library basis and may be requested to be returned for use by others. In order to measure progress it is important that we gather data on the dates that pests are caught.

  1. The trap

Your trap will have a number on it – this is used to track which traps are catching rats!

A wooden tunnel with a spring trap (Tomcat or similar) placed inside is the set-up most likely to be supplied for rats and mice. This tunnel has mesh on both ends to ensure children and pets cannot get to the trap. An additional safety feature is that removal of the top requires a 3 mm square-end screwdriver.

  1. Bait and set your trap

It is good practice to wear gloves when setting the trap to avoid tainting the trap with smells rats do not like. Peanut butter is a very effective bait. It’s best to re-bait your trap every few days if you are using peanut butter. From time to time we may provide you with alternative long-life baits which will last 1-2 weeks.

Rats don’t like open spaces and travel along ‘highways’ so put the trap close to a fence line or compost bin, laden fruit tree, woodpile, rubbish or recycling area, all likely places that a rat will visit.

OPENING TUNNEL: Slide up the wire mesh or undo one/both screws holding the top of the tunnel and slide/lift off the top.

BAITING: Prior to setting the trap, bait the cup in the hole of the trigger plate with peanut butter.

(RE)SETTING Push down on the back of the hinged plate until the trigger plate clicks into place and holds open. Place trap carefully back inside tunnel and slide down wire mesh/reattach the lid.

DO NOT TOUCH THE TRIGGER PLATE WITH YOUR FINGERS AFTER SETTING. To unset a trap and close the trap safely, apply firm pressure to the hinged rear plate of the trap (using your foot or hand), KEEP FINGERS CLEAR and use a stick or similar to press the front trigger plate down, simultaneously lowering the jaws by slowly releasing the pressure on the rear plate of the trap.

When you’ve caught a mouse or a rat, pick trap up at rear with thumb on release plate, press down to open jaws and release rodent directly into a plastic bag which you can dispose of in your red wheelie bin (alternatively bury it, with due ceremony).

  1. Advise your area coordinator of your catch!

A really important part of the project is to understand if we are succeeding, so recording catches is key. Keep a record of rats caught with date and provide this data with the number of the trap to the coordinator for your area on a regular basis. If the trap is well baited with no catches for 2-3 weeks then it is probably time to move the trap to somewhere else on your property.

For more great advice on traps & backyard trapping, see

If you've had a catch, please let us know where and when you found what, so we can add your results to our maps.

You can record your catches by sending us an email you can send us an email. Our team is currently working by suburb, so please contact the email corresponding to your area:

Or you can use our Catch Report Form.

Don't hesitate to get in touch if we can be of help with new traps, bait or trap placement advice.

Like us on Facebook here to stay up to date. We love photos of your catches too.

Happy trapping!

Useful links

Shows examples of pest animal droppings and describes clues for identification.

A trust committed to making NZ Predator Free.
There’s a wealth of tools and resources available to aid your predator control work.