This year Landcare Research in association with Forest & Bird and the Ornithological Society of NZ ran its 4th National Garden bird survey. This year has been the most successful survey to date, with approximately 4000 participants, twice as many as last year!
The survey was created to find out more about the population dynamics of native bird species in our towns and cities, something we know virtually nothing about. The survey takes place in mid-winter every year, when native birds are more likely to visit our towns and cities in greater numbers. The survey took place between the 26th of June and the 4th of July where all willing participants spent an hour recording the highest number of each bird species they saw at one time (birds heard and seen flying overhead were also recorded).
Although its still early days to show any real long term population trends, there have been some interesting results based on the 4 surveys conducted to date.
|Top 10 garden birds compared (2009/2010)|
House sparrows & silvereyes have been found to be by far the most common birds visiting our gardens throughout the country; with house sparrows being more common in people's gardens in the north of the country and silvereyes being much more common in the south. Interestingly, silvereyes were more common than house sparrows in 2007 (with an average of 10.2 silvereyes compared to an average of 9.4 house sparrows), while for the last 2 years house sparrows have been the most common garden species due to silvereye numbers crashing, especially in Otago and Southland (Avian pox is thought to have been the culprit, with several people in Dunedin noticing silvereyes with growths around the bill, eyes and legs). This year however results so far have shown silvereyes make a come-back and regain the top spot as the nation's most common garden bird! (See table above)
Other results have shown some exciting visitors to our gardens. Stitchbirds have been recorded in gardens in Auckland and Wellington, close to areas where birds have been introduced like the Waitakere Ranges and Karori Wildlife Sanctuary.
Red-crowned parakeets (Kakariki) were reported in an urban garden in Torbay (15km from Tiritiri Matangi Island) and in a garden in Glenfield (25km from Tiritiri). Some people have also recorded seeing Kaka come into their gardens and feed from feeders.
To see progress results of the 2010 survey as they are entered into the computer please click here