To celebrate NZ’s unique natural taonga, Peter Hayden has curated a highlights collection from three decades of NHNZ productions. Aotearoa’s landforms and its magnificent menagerie of natural oddities – birds, insects, trees like nowhere else on the planet – are showcased in 15 award-winning titles. From Discovery Channel and David Bellamy, to Wild South and Our World classics.
Endangered native birds are at risk of losing their instinct to recognise and flee mammalian enemies when moved between predator-free and predator-filled sites, says a Massey researcher.
Sarah Whitwell, a biology Masters student at Massey’s Institute of Natural Resources in Albany, designed an experiment using a pulley system to dangle a stuffed stoat and morepork at nesting North Island robins to test their fear responses. She says most robins in areas free of introduced predators such as stoats failed to get into a flap at the sight of an enemy, albeit a fake version.
Her research adds to growing evidence that native birds’ responses to mammalian predators are not genetically hard-wired.
“That’s because introduced mammal predators have been here a relatively short time, whereas native birds have been here for millions of years.”
She says already endangered native bird species would be at increased risk if moved back to wilderness sites with mammalian predators after inhabiting mammal-free conservation areas without some form of predator-recognition training.
The responses of robins in predator-controlled Wenderholm Reserve and Tiritiri Matangi Island near Auckland were compared with those in the central North Island, where the birds have long co-existed with native and introduced predators.
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
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
Wellington’s wildest night out just got even better! Throughout July and August, we are running a special two-for-one deal on our unique nocturnal tours. Conditions apply.
Take a tour by torchlight through New Zealand’s native forest at night. Your guide will help you to spot morepork, tuatara, glow-worms and weka. And if you hear a snuffling and a rustling in the bushes, it will probably be one of our rare little spotted kiwi – there are over 100 living wild in this magical valley! Tours depart nightly, with transport available to and from town for an extra $10pp.
Places are limited, so call 04 920 9213 to avoid disappointment!
Tour cost: $45 adult, $20 children (minimum age 12 years). 2-4-1 offer applies to PHONE BOOKINGS ONLY. more
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