Tui are taking over Wellington, with an eight-fold jump in their recorded numbers since 2001.
The forest bird is now the second most commonly observed in the capital after the silvereye, according to a twice-yearly survey.
“They seem to love it here,” Wellington City Council reserves manager Amber Bill said.
Tui hot spots were Otari-Wilton, Aro Valley, Brooklyn and Ngaio, though the population was increasing across the city, she said.
The population of tui and other birds are monitored in autumn and spring, using a series of surveys across Wellington reserves. Bird songs are recorded for five minutes by volunteers and then analysed.
Since 2001, the total number of tui heard jumped from 68 to 510.
The tui is one of our most distinctive birds with its white tuft under the throat and sleek dark green-blue plumage.
Ms Bill said tui were probably spreading from the Karori Sanctuary and naturally recolonising the city.
Other factors in the rise of tui included efforts to control possums and other pests, and more native trees being planted in gardens. “It’s hard to pin it down to any one thing.”
The surveys showed other bird species including kaka and saddleback were also on the rise. Ms Bill said the key to keeping tui numbers increasing was to provide more food and cut predator numbers.
Sanctuary spokesman Alan Dicks said it had received reports of tui in suburbs where they had not been seen for years, such as Miramar. “We should all be extremely proud.”
However, the return of the tui has not been welcomed by all Wellingtonians. In January it was revealed Karori Sanctuary had received complaints from people kept awake by the birds’ raucous singing.
Mr Dicks said there were no complaints so far this spring. “Hopefully … last summer was enough to make people appreciate what a good thing we’ve got here.”