Watch the birdie

Marley the office cat thinks this is for the birds while Annette, left, and Iris scan the horizon.
Marley the office cat thinks this is for the birds while Annette, left, and Iris scan the horizon.

It’s time to dust off the binoculars and sit in the garden – the Great Garden Bird Survey is fast approaching and the more folk out helping, the better.

Over time the garden bird survey will give a useful picture of how the birds around us have changed. Last year N8N polished our bins and perched on the front lawn with notebook and cup of tea. We clocked up 14 species, which included kingfisher, harrier, white-faced heron and mallard.

The survey is a citizen science project which monitors the population trends of common garden birds in New Zealand. It attempts to answer the question, ‘Are garden bird populations increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable?’

New Zealand has a number of rare native bird species that are declining in number, but we don’t know the population trends of our more common native or introduced birds. It is hoped that the annual garden bird survey will act as an early-warning system if currently common native species start declining.

Measuring the population trends of these species is an enormous task, and the organisers are grateful for all and any help. 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 is totally fine. As is sitting on a comfy seat in the garden.

More information can be obtained by clicking here.

Happy bird watching!

This year’s survey: 28 June – 6 July 2014

Anybody who can identify birds in their gardens can participate.

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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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