Assessing the suitability of non-invasive methods to monitorinterspecific interactions and breeding biology of the South Georgian diving petrel (Pelecanoides georgicus)

© The Ornithological Society of New Zealand Inc. We assessed the impact of interspecific interactions on the breeding success of the South Georgian diving petrel (Pelecanoides georgicus; SGDP), a Nationally Critical seabird species, by monitoring 20 burrows at Codfish Island (Whenua Hou), with remote cameras. Additionally, we tested the utility of remote cameras to study the breeding biology and activity patterns of the SGDP by pairing 5 remote cameras with RFID readers. We recorded 7 different species at SGDP burrow entrances. The common diving petrel (P. urinatrix) likely caused two monitored burrows to fail. These results suggest that remote cameras are useful tools to study such interactions. However, the cameras had extremely low SGDP detection rates (mean = 10.86%; se = 7.62%) when compared to RFID readers. These low detection rates may be explained by the small body size and the speed at which SGDPs enter/leave burrows. Therefore, remote cameras, or at least the model and setup we used, appear unsuitable to study breeding biology and activity patterns in this seabird species.