In 1788, when the first Europeans arrived on Norfolk Island to establish a new penal colony for transported convicts, the population of providence petrel was probably in excess of one million pairs. However, uncontrolled hunting by human settlers and predation by introduced animals swiftly decimated the petrel population. By 1825, the seabird had been extirpated from Norfolk Island, and was not seen for another 150 years, when in 1985 a small population of 20 birds was discovered breeding on Philip Island (2) (11). In contrast, the breeding population on Lord Howe Island was able to withstand the potentially devastating introduction of a range of animals including pigs, cats, goats, rats and owls. Presently, the population on Lord Howe Island is stable with estimates in 2002 of over 32,000 breeding pairs, but with only a small number recorded on Philip Island, the species remains vulnerable to both catastrophic events and human impacts (2). Fortunately, the current human threat to providence petrels on Lord Howe Island is considered negligible compared with mortality caused by natural flooding of burrows and minor predation by the endemic Lord Howe woodhen (2) (9) (12).