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Archive for the ‘kereru’ Category

Our already silent forests are dying.

Scientists have proved for the first time the alarming rates of decline in regeneration of native tree species that rely on kereru, or native pigeons, to disperse seeds.

In two forests, they have found regeneration has fallen by up to 84 per cent over two years. However, they fear the problem could be far worse in other areas in which bird populations are much lower.

Canterbury university plant ecology professor Dave Kelly said researchers were taken aback by their findings. “It was a surprise for us how big the effect was and how long it was lasting for.”

At one extreme, the researchers said regeneration of trees could fail completely, leaving forests full of dying adult trees and eventually lead to the collapse of mature forests.

Dr Kelly, with Landcare Research ecologist Debra Wotton, studied native taraire and karaka trees in two forests less than 100 hectares in size.

Taraire rely exclusively, and karaka almost exclusively, on kereru to disperse their fruit, which are too big for other smaller birds to eat.

Although it was already believed that falling populations of kereru were having an impact on seed dispersal, it was the first time the link has been proved and assessed.

Full story on Stuff.co.nz

Photograph by Jim Stevens

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click on the image of john campbell  for direct link to tv3 video

In a few days it will be spring and the birds will be in full song.

But in some parts of the country it will be an extremely muted song.

In fact there are now areas known as ‘bird deserts’ where there are virtually no native birds.

We know these regions exist because birdwatchers have just spent five years in the field finding out how many birds there are, and where they live – information for the latest edition of the New Zealand Bird Atlas.

Richard Langston with a story on the plight of our birds.
link

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Scoop: OSNZ publishes significant scientific resource

Scientific knowledge about New Zealand birdlife took a great leap forward today as the Ornithological Society of New Zealand published the Atlas of Bird Distribution in New Zealand 1999-2004.

The atlas was launched today at Government House in Wellington by the Administrator of the Government, Rt. Hon. Dame Sian Elias. Birds are some of the best natural indicators of the health of our environment – an environment we like to promote as clean and green.

President of the Ornithological Society, Professor Richard Holdaway said that the bird distribution atlas has demonstrated dramatic and rapid changes in bird distribution in all parts of the country since the 1970s. As land use has changed, so have the communities of bird species in those areas.

Examples of this included areas that have changed from exotic forest to dairying, and areas that have reverted from cleared land to native scrub. Species that did well in the first habitat have been pushed out as the land was converted. Atlas project Convenor, Christopher Robertson notes that “Green in colour we may be, but these atlas surveys continue to demonstrate that some of that greenness is both increasingly monocultural, and the battleground of territorial invaders among the avifauna. New Zealand endemics are retreating to enclaves where introduced mammalian predators increasingly threaten the food supply, productivity, and individuals of remnant species.”    more

http://osnz.org.nz/

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A kereru fitted with transmitter

Scientific research being carried out in the Ngāi Tūhoe forests in
the central North Island is delivering valuable knowledge about
indigenous forest ecosystems and giving Maori landowners tools to
restore and preserve their native forest resource.

Over the past four years, Landcare Research scientists have been
working with the Tuawhenua Trust, to investigate why some canopy tree
species in the mainly forest-covered 10,000 hectares of land which is
dotted through the Urewera National Park and are managed by the Trust,
are not regenerating adequately.
more

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Media release: Fun format for garden bird survey

Male bellbird

Calling all bird watchers! Your help is requested for a national Garden Bird Survey.

With a simple and fun format, anyone from seasoned bird watchers to families and school groups can take part in the survey, which has proved popular overseas. In the UK more than 400,000 people participated in last year’s survey, with a tally of eight million birds.

“Are our common bird populations increasing or decreasing? That’s the question we want to answer,” says Landcare Research scientist, Eric Spurr. more

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The Department of Conservation is to eradicate mice on three Abel Tasman National Park islands so they can become pest-free sanctuaries for native species. DOC Motueka area manager Colin Wishart said mice were currently the only mammalian pests on Adele, Fisherman’s and Tonga islands and their removal would enhance the islands’ native vegetation and wildlife.Bird species which would benefit from the eradication of mice include kereru, grey warblers, silvereyes, fantails and bellbirds.Monitoring would take place after the operation to check for signs of mice, Mr Wishart said.

It takes two years of monitoring without sign of rodents before successful eradication can be confirmed.    more

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nz natives

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