Every year for the last 13 years, towards the end of June, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research have run the NZ Garden Bird Survey. This is a good time of year as birds are attracted to gardens in winter when there is less food for them elsewhere. This year’s results could be particularly interesting as there is lots of evidence to suggest that garden birds have thrived in recent months due to the coronavirus lockdown, but we still don’t know what the longer-term consequences might be. You could help scientists to answer this question by taking part in this year’s survey.
Over nine days between Saturday 27 June 27 and Sunday 5 July, we are all being asked to count the birds we see and hear in our gardens and backyards. Last year more than 4000 people took part, but the organisers are hoping for even more this year. Here is what you need to do to take part:
- Visit the NZ Garden Bird Survey website to get started
- Select a garden, or a local park or school grounds
- Choose any ONE day between 27 June and 5 July 2020
- Look and listen for birds on that day for ONE hour
- For each species, record the HIGHEST number seen or heard at one time
- Submit the results online at the NZ Garden Bird Survey website
It is as simple as that, and should take only one hour of your time. What you discover could contribute important scientific data for understanding our garden birds and what we can do to protect and nurture them. This information will help to make our gardens and parks places where wildlife can thrive and people can enjoy and benefit from the delights that nature has to offer.
As birds are an important indicator of the health of our environments, every sighting matters and can inform conservation decisions and ongoing research across New Zealand and the rest of the world. Sightings of common birds are as important as rare ones, after all, in 1883, the passenger pigeon was the most abundant bird in North America, but by 1914 it was extinct.
If you are keen to take part, then visit the NZ Garden Bird Survey website to find tally sheets and identification guides to help you identify what you see. No experience is necessary and you do not need to be an expert ornithologist, so why not include the whole family. If you do want to dig a little deeper, then the library has all sorts of books that can help. Here is a short list to get you started:
Books for people taking part in the annual NZ Garden Bird Survey
You can also help by spreading the word on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #NZGardenBirdSurvey.
Did you know?
Fantail weighs just 8 grams, or less than half a chocolate fish?! What the fantail lacks in size, it certainly makes up for in character.
.#nzgbs #NZGardenBirds #NZGardenBirdSurvey #lovebirds #BirdNerd #CountOurBirds #wildlife #nature #KnowYourBirds #Aotearoa pic.twitter.com/1DjVHHObDQ
— Garden Bird Survey (@NZGardenBirds) June 18, 2020