Wellington Scoop

Significant Wellington increase in tui, kaka and kakariki


News from Wellington City Council
Tui, kaka and kakariki numbers have all increased significantly in Wellington Reserves since 2011, and there has been no decrease detected for any other species.

These figures, from a council survey, suggest that the presence of Zealandia, and the increase in predator control throughout the city, is really making a difference for our feathered friends.

Since 2011 the Council’s Urban Ecology programme has engaged professional ecologists to conduct yearly five minute bird counts at 100 stations in reserves across Wellington City. The bird counts provide a high level picture of how birds are doing in Wellington by monitoring the trends in diversity abundance and distribution of native forest birds throughout Wellington City’s reserve network.

Wellington City Council’s Open Spaces and Parks Manager Myfanwy Emeny and her team are flying high with the results.

“Our team has been working really hard, and it’s great to see such impressive progress – especially as we are giving everyone the opportunity to see so many native forest bird species in the heart of the capital,” says Myfanwy.

“These numbers also reflect the effective biodiversity management we have achieved through animal pest control, weed control and habitat restoration in our city – and we couldn’t have done it without the huge support from so many volunteers in the community.”

There has been a significant increase in the average native forest bird species encountered per bird count. This is likely to be caused by increases in the number of individuals of some species and the areas they occupy in our city. Encounter rates for tui, North Island kaka and red-crowned parakeet (kakariki) have all increased significantly since the surveys began, and no decreases in encounter rates have been detected for any species.

The reports incorporates community efforts. Increased engagement from local residents as ‘citizen scientists’ contributes to a number of databases and projects which is helping to build a detailed picture of changes in bird distribution in the city.

Related links:
Predator Free Wellington

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  1. Anne Batley Burton, 11. December 2017, 14:34

    Well well well! In spite of the “ supposed 30,000 stray cats “ according to a certain statement. Perhaps the WCC might just start realizing that cats are not the demons some fanatics make them out to be.
    Never forget that cats kill the rats which are the real killers of birds and their eggs.

  2. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 11. December 2017, 14:46

    Wonderful to see an honest appraisal from the WCC media team on the proliferation of native birds in the capital. Tui everywhere, and if one goes out in the parks and sits a while, one is certain to see groups of kaka. As to kakariki, we’ve seen a couple in our garden this year and we even spotted a tieke sitting in our oak tree a while back. The piwakawaka are ever present and a flock of tauhou visit to feed most afternoons.

    WCC has put a lot of effort into demonising cats over the past few years with claims domestic and stray cats are decimating native wildlife. This belief has resulted in the compulsory microchipping of cats as a central part of the WCC animal bylaw review 2016. The microchipping directive is due to be implemented in early 2018, yet our present ornithological observations are now confirmed by one of the council’s own media releases which includes quotes from Myfanwy Emeny herself.

    Myfanwy is one of the three LGNZ representatives who sit at the same table with the Morgan Foundation on the National Cat Management Strategy Group which wishes to execute all cats who do not immediately return an ID when scanned with a microchip scanner. This media release from WCC amounts to confirmation cats are not actually catching vast quantities of native birds as the environmentalists erroneously believe they do and not even the questionable number of 10,000 to 30,000 stray cats which the council believes reside within the city appear to be having a vast impact on the restoration of native birdlife.

    Having all of these birds comes with a cost and we’re not talking about the investment of civic funds in the Zealandia project, or the costs to the council of having a team of conservation staff that would make Lou Sanson himself drool. The cost is of course the impact on residents by the sheer volume of manu taonga answering the call of nature. When we step out of our front door the path is covered in bird excrement, we may as well be living in an aviary. Sure, it hoses off, but due to the water shortage we’re doing the right thing and avoiding using the hose. With all of these birds about, getting the laundry done has become a challenge and all too often we’ll discover someone of an avian persuasion has decided our laundry is the ideal latrine.

    We’ve yet to engage a biochemist on our team, but to the lay person’s eye it appears the all out push to fill the city with native birds comes with a developing public health issue. Were not sure what sort of bacteria might be in all of the bird droppings but it’s doubtful guano has an antibiotic content. The consequences of environmental micromanagement is a public health issue in the making, what are we to do about all of these birds?

  3. Conn G, 11. December 2017, 17:05

    All predators of our native wildlife do so for food and survival, but most of the cats are like dogs around sheep, kill for sport and it’s just in their primeval instinct. The cat population numbers have to be known and controlled.

  4. Bob the Bushtail Possum, 12. December 2017, 12:39

    Conn G, dogs and to a lesser degree cats can be trained to leave sheep and birds alone. Unfortunately it’s humans who are more difficult, as many really love shooting ducks, deer and torturing to death small mammals with leg iron traps (especially critters introduced to NZ by the nasty white fella).

  5. susan mottram, 19. December 2017, 17:40

    Maybe there was no decline in bird numbers in the first place.