As the sun sets over Mauao, a group of keen wildlife conservationists are preparing for another trek up the Mount.

The Western Bay Wildlife Trust is passionate about ensuring the safety of local birdlife from other pests.

"Stoats, rats, possums - which we have a small number of here on Mount Maunganui, and also rabbits, which are a burrowing animals and therefore are competition for the seabirds."

Mr Cuming - who has been researching wildlife across the Bay of Plenty for 25 years - is the resident specialist on grey-faced petrels and other nesting seabirds.

Trust members meet regularly during nesting season to ensure the safety of the petrels. It is one of the last colonies of seabirds on mainland New Zealand, it's presence not widely known.

"Hopefully they'll still be around, and we will be able to handle a bird close up and explain why we can actually capture it without it flying away. There's a bit of a story behind that as well."

The group of birdwatchers show Local Focus the traps they use to capture and kill pests and other rodents.

Tertiary student Bekki Richards is using a special paint to tag the birds - she's measuring the recapture rates of the species for research.

The group says public education is vital to ensure the future of this species.

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