The future looks bright for endangered species of birds on Lord Howe Island after stage one of a rodent eradication program was successfully carried out.
During the program, bird species including the Lord Howe Island Woodhen and Currawong were held in captivity to protect them.
The final group of Woodhens were returned to their breeding areas in the lowlands of the island last week.
This followed the removal of bait stations that were operating in the lowlands, as part of the last stage of the rodent eradication plan.
Rodents pose a big risk to the survival of many of the bird species, with some completely wiped out following the accidental introduction of rats in 1918.
Hank Bower has been the island's Environment and World Heritage manager for the last 13 years.
He said program's implementation was thanks to Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) staff, who captured and returned the birds throughout the island.
Mr Bower also credited the professional efforts of Taronga Zoo staff, who he said did an amazing job in caring for the birds in captivity for nine months.
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams said the eradication program represented the largest single conservation action in the state's history.
It was made possible thanks to a partnership between the Lord Howe Island Board (LHIB) and DPIE.
Mr Bower said thanks to the eradication plan, which has been developed since 2009, no rodents have been detected on the island since October 9, 2019.
Island staff have also witnessed good signs of ecological bounce back, with two endemic species of palm trees now seeding and producing fruit.
Mr Bower said within an hour of the Woodhens being returned to their natural environment, they were exhibiting mating behaviour.
Currawongs were the first returned to the wild in September and Mr Bower said they have produced fledglings.
He described the observations as "real renaissance".
The bird species from the island were delicately collected for captivity while the eradication program took place. Some Woodhens were airlifted by helicopter from their mountain-top homes.
Chair of the LHIB Peter Adams said baiting ceasing on November 1, 2019 and the island will continue to be monitored for two years. Strict biosecurity measures will be enforced to prevent rodent incursions.
"If no rats or mice are spotted over the next two years, we will be able to declare Lord Howe Island a rodent-free zone," he said.
Mrs Williams said the plan to eradicate these invasive species was an incredible scientific initiative that will conserve the unique biodiversity and natural values of the World Heritage Site.
Mr Bower said the island's ecology is really finely tuned and it's important no species come into contact with the heritage site, who shouldn't be there.
He praised the amount of investment which had gone into the island's biosecurity with multiple border inspections occurring in Port Macquarie and on the island for incoming freight.
Mr Bower said unfortunately the masked owl poses a threat to species on the island. He said it was initially introduced to help eradicate rodents but now is feeding on other birds.
For more information about the types of birds on Lord Howe Island or to enquire about tours please visit www.lordhoweislandbirds.com
To access the island's guide for information on numerous projects, walking track maps, quarantine and bird monitoring projects click here