Watch the birdie

"I say, is that an ostrich?"  Annette and Iris need guidance from Marley the cat (who really knows her birds!)
“I say old girl, is that an ostrich?” Annette and Iris need guidance from Marley the cat (who really knows her birds!)

IT’S time to polish the binoculars, fill the thermos and have a nice sit down while you ornithologise. The great Garden Bird Survey is once more upon us, and we have until Sunday 5 July to spot our birds.*

The more people out helping, the better. Over time the citizen science project, run by Landcare Research, will provide a useful picture of how the birds around us have changed.  Last year, more than 100,000 birds were recorded.

This time last year N8N 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.

We’d love to be able to add tui to the list, one has been singing the last few mornings.  But we’re equally happy to record the little silvereyes, sparrows and even mynas that call this spot of Gordonton home.

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.

This year I might even add a knee rug with the thermos.

Click here for more details.

*Well, we went and done it – the Woodlands Road Garden Bird survey yielded 17 species, as follows:

Tui (1), Spur winged plover (1), Magpie (2), Sparrow (22), Mallard (3), Silvereye (3), Pukeko (3), Myna (3), Starlings (2), Blackbird (3), Yellowhammer (10), Chaffinch (1), Harrier (1), Thrush (1), Welcome Swallow (1), Grey Warbler (1), Rock Pigeon (2).

We missed some obvious ones, such as goldfinch, greenfinch and fantail.  And 20 minutes after we finished we saw a Kingfisher, but couldn’t count it.  Next year!

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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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