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Archive for the ‘Saddleback’ Category

nature-topper

NZ Nature on screen

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.

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http://www.nzonscreen.com/collection/nature

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Birds moved to new pest free home | NATIONAL | NEWS | tvnz.co.nz

Kaharuai or South Island Robin

Thirty threatened Kakaruai birds have been successfully transferred to New Zealand’s newest sanctuary.

Secretary Island, a 8,000 hectare island at the western end of Doubtful Sound in the Fiordland National Park, will be the new home to the Kaharuai, or South Island Robin.

“It’s fantastic, it’s been a big achievement getting to this point,” says Murray Willians from the Department of Conservation.

They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush but for DOC it’s the birds in the bush that are important.

“There’s no rodents or possums here, and essentially no stoats and very few deer now too, so it’s essentially clear of introduced animals that cause harm to NZ’s native biodiversity,” says Willians.

The birds were transferred from Breaksea Island following a three year project to rid the island of predators.

Breaksea was the forerunner of the country’s island restoration programme and boasts a population of thousands of Kakaruai, and other threatened species.

Offshore islands play a key role in the battle against introduced pests. Birds like the Saddleback would have been extinct without them.

There used to be thousands of South Island Robins on Secretary Island before Stoats were introduced about a hundred years ago. Now there are none, and DOC is hoping this population of birds brought here, will flourish.

“Seeing and hearing that birdsong and thinking of what it used to be like in the South Island beech forests is quite incredible and quite different to what we see now on the mainland anywhere really,” says Willans.

“These conservation programmes are very important. It’s very important we retain the character of the area,” says John Davies from the Fiordland Conservation Trust.

The programmes will ensure the birds keep singing for generations to come.

original story

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$35m plan to rid island of rats and feral cats – 11 Mar 2008 – NZ Herald: New Zealand and International environment and global warming news
Peter Jean Caley

oil painting of South island Tomtit by Peter Jean Caley

Stewart Island interests are considering an ambitious $35 million proposal to eradicate rats, wild cats and possums from the island.

The proposal has initial support from parts of the community but is likely to be vehemently opposed by deer hunters. It includes a predator fence around the settlement of Oban and plans for widespread aerial poison drops.

Described as New Zealand’s biggest conservation project, it aims to “make Stewart Island the Galapagos of the South”.

Copies of the proposal have been given to community groups and key “stakeholders” before a public meeting on April 3.

The “draft feasibility study” has been prepared by the Stewart Island/Rakiura Community and Environment Trust, with support from the Department of Conservation and the Tindall Foundation.

Proposed “border control” measures could include teams of rodent-checking dogs monitoring departures from Bluff and Invercargill and arrivals on the island.

It is hoped bird species such as kakapo, saddleback, mohua, kokako and teal may eventually be reintroduced to Stewart Island.

full story

update: tv3 video of the same story

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Rat stopped from getting to Tiritiri Matangi: Media releases


A Norway rat found on a ferry due to sail to Tiritiri Matangi was stopped from getting to the island sanctuary due to quick action by the ferry operator.

“All we need is one pregnant rodent to come ashore on Tiritiri and we would have a major incident on our hands.”

“Endangered species on the island include birds like the saddleback, which was wiped out on other islands by rats. Tiritiri has become a sanctuary for many threatened species that could be put at risk if visitors to the island are not vigilant and pest aware.” full press release

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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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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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