Watch the birdie

Marley shows Annette, left, and Iris how to really watch birds

It’s time to do nothing but watch the birds.

The Great Garden Bird Survey is on again, and the more people out helping, the better. Over time it will give a useful picture of how the birds around us have changed.

This time last year N8N polished our binoculars and sat out on our front lawn with notebook and thermos – we clocked up 14 species, which included kingfisher, harrier, white-faced heron and mallard. We would have got more if Marley the resident feline hadn’t been so helpful.

This year we want to see more – and intend doing our survey one day this week.

Organised by Landcare Research, the bird watching needs to be done between now and 8 July.

Folk are asked to record the largest number of each species detected at any one time in one hour of observation (not the total detected over the hour). The reason for counting the largest number detected at one time is so that individual birds are not counted twice.

And you can even be inside – viewing from a living room at home or school classroom at school looking out the window are all fine. As is sitting on a garden seat outside or watching a bird feeder or water bath.

More information can be obtained by clicking here.

Happy bird watching.

PS Organiser and keen birder Eric Spurr says: In case you haven’t yet seen the results of last years survey on the garden bird survey website, briefly, the most striking thing was a large decline in the number of silvereye counted (average about two thirds the number counted the previous year). Survey participants made comments such as, “Where are all the silvereyes?” and “This is the lowest number of silvereyes we’ve had in years”.

House sparrow was by far the most numerous species last year (second the previous year), with 39,001 counted in 3089 gardens (average 12.6 per garden). Silvereye was second (top last year) with 18,641 counted (average 6.0 per garden). As in previous years, counts varied between regions.

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

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