Wellington Scoop

Kereru to be counted – but where are they?

News from Wellington Regional Council
Last year the fan-favourite Kererū swooped in and claimed Bird of the Year 2018, but now it seems the native birds are nowhere to be seen.

The Regional Council have been monitoring kererū numbers at Kaitoke Regional Park for 16 years and usually complete their counts at the site from the end of August to mid-September.

“In the last couple of years they have averaged around 150 a day for the five days, across one month, they get counted,” says the council’s environmental mMonitoring oOfficer Faline Drummond.

During monitoring this year “there were no kererū at all” which is highly unusual given that the kowhai, which are popular with the birds, are well into flowering.

“We have been noticing ourselves, and members of the public have been commenting, that they are not on kowhai trees around the region where they are usually seen.

“It is a possibility that they haven’t come down from the large forests yet as there is thought to be an abundance of fruit there due to the mast this year,” Faline says.

Wellingtonians looking to take part in The Great Kererū Count from September 20-29 will have their work cut out for them, after 18,981 of the birds were counted nationwide during last year’s event.

The annual event looks to improve conservation outcomes as these birds play an important part in regenerating native forests by spreading over 70 different native species of forest plants through their consumption of fruits such as karaka, tawa and miro.

The Great Kererū Count is run by Urban Wildlife Trust & Kereru Discovery along with Wellington City Council, Dunedin City Council, Nelson City Council and Victoria University of Wellington.


  1. Andy Foster, 16. September 2019, 23:19

    I know where a fair few kereru were this afternoon!

    Coming down Birdwood Street (Karori) I saw approximately 30 kereru wheeling around over the valley below and then counted 10 as they landed in a single pohutukawa tree.

    They love the tree lucerne on Birdwood Street, and Birdwood and Wilton Road are where I got the world’s first official ‘Watch for kereru’ signs installed a couple of years ago.

    For me it is really special to see the increasing number of kereru and kaka in particular in our area. I just think we are doing something quite special in environmental restoration in Wellington.

  2. Helen, 17. September 2019, 21:09

    I see a couple regularly in the pine trees and gum trees on Tinakori Hill. They must like a touch of exotic in their lives.

  3. Elizabeth, 18. September 2019, 18:36

    One on the powerlines in Ranui,Porirua, today.

  4. Katy, 19. September 2019, 7:45

    Yes Helen – the eco diversity in people’s gardens where the council doesn’t limit trees to natives and does not go around spraying round-up and putting out pesticide has been a boon for birdlife. We have lots of Tui in our winter flowering gum trees.

  5. Kathy, 26. September 2019, 16:52

    One kereru in a kowhai tree in City View Grove, Lower Hutt, today.