Tui, fantail numbers on the rise - survey

RACHEL THOMAS
Last updated 05:00 24/06/2014

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It's not so much about the bird next door, but the one in your own backyard that Landcare is asking Waikato folk to spy on.

The garden bird survey, which runs from June 28 to July 6, is a citizen science project aimed at monitoring population trends of common garden birds.

Results from last year's survey revealed that the house sparrow was again the most common species in Waikato and the rest of the country. The silvereye was second, both in Waikato and nationally.

Survey organiser Dr Eric Spurr of Landcare Research said 3476 New Zealanders participated last year, 206 of them from the Waikato.

A total of 136,737 birds were counted nationally during the survey, of which 8231 - or 40 per garden - were counted in Waikato.

"The survey provides valuable information about trends in garden bird populations, helping guide conservation efforts, such as the Waikato Regional Council's ‘Hamilton Halo' project [which] aims to bring more native birds such as tui, bellbird and kereru into the city," Spurr said.

Over the seven years the survey has been running, results have shown counts of some native species, such as tui and fantail, have increased nationally.

"It is too soon to know whether these increases are part of a longer-term trend or just part of normal fluctuations in numbers over time. Seven years is not a long time, and the results of this year's survey could change the current trends," Spurr said.

Anyone who can identify birds in their gardens can participate in the 2014 garden bird survey. Instructions, including an online survey form and bird identification guides, can be found at gardenbirdsurvey.landcareresearch.co.nz.

rachel.thomas@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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- Waikato Times

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