As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 22 June 2018

Dramatic drop in native bird numbers spotted in gardens

There's good and bad news for stay-at-home bird spotters across the country.

The latest State of New Zealand Garden Birds report has been released - and shows that while the number of some native species spotted in gardens is on the rise, there has been a dramatic drop in others.

And researchers say the numbers show birds could be a sign of major environmental change.

You may not recognise the sound of the tauhou - or silvereye - but in the last eleven years, the number of the native birds spotted in New Zealand gardens has dropped by 43 percent.

And it's not just the silvereye bird enthusiasts are struggling to spot in their gardens - the number of starling, song thrush and goldfinch has also dropped.

According to Landcare research associate Dr Eric Spurr the birds could be signalling major environmental changes.

"We don't know what changes they are signalling, but they are signalling that something is going on - whether it's increased human population, increased urbanisation, increased use of herbicides, insecticides, pesticides - we don't know, and that's what we need to find out," he said.

These findings are part of the annual State of New Zealand Garden Birds report produced by Landcare research.

For the past eleven years, 31,000 volunteers have taken part in the survey - recording the birds they see in their garden for an hour, for seven days in winter.

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