Press Release – Forest and Bird
The Wellington, Auckland and Otago regions have emerged as kereru ‘hotspots’ after the Kiwi Conservation Club’s 10-day kereru survey finished yesterday.
The top three kereru locations snared 61 per cent of the national total of 2036 sightings. Coromandel, Marlborough and the centre of the North Island had disappointingly low sightings.
Kereru Count co-ordinator Ann Graeme says the results were similar to those in the inaugural count in 2012. “Like last year, the results indicate kereru are doing well in some urban centres, particularly those with established gardens and forest remnants. This reflects the abundance of food, such as puriri and cabbage tree berries, and the plums available in city parks and home gardens at this time of the year,” she says.
KCC, Forest & Bird’s junior section, began the survey as a fun way to interest Kiwi kids in New Zealand’s only native wood pigeon. Hundreds of KCC kids and school pupils contributed to the 1277 entries logged online.
Ann Graeme says the Kereru Count is open to everyone. “It reminds people of this endemic species that is in decline, and encourages them to plant kereru-friendly trees and maintain pest control to help boost numbers.
“It was pleasing to see some flocks recorded, including 30 on the outskirts of Invercargill and over 20 near Geraldine. Observers often reported the birds were “plump”, reflecting the fine and fruitful summer,” she says.
While many participants were pleased to record familiar and regular visitors in their backyards, one observer complained his kereru defecated on his head, demonstrating the perils of bird surveys.
The survey results will be shared with councils and conservation groups including Dunedin’s Project Kereru, the Kereru Discovery Project and the Department of Conservation.
The Kereru Count was run in conjunction with NatureWatch NZ’s online kereru observation survey.
Total number of kereru: 2036
Total number of entries: 1277
Top regions Auckland (462), Wellington (416), Dunedin (377)
North Island 64%, South Island 36%
Most commonly eaten native plants by kereru: puriri, ti kouka (cabbage tree), karaka,
Most commonly eaten non-native plants by kereru: plum, tree lucerne