Kererū continue to win the hearts of New Zealanders

voted as last year’s Bird of the Year, and now about to be counted by thousands of people as part of the Great Kererū Count.

This year’s 10-day annual count runs from Friday 20 September until Sunday 29 September. Joining in is easy on the Great Kererū Count website

The Great Kererū Count is NZ’s biggest citizen science project. It is all about New Zealand working together to learn about and care for kererū.

Dr Stephen Hartley, Director of the Centre for Biodiversity & Restoration Ecology at Victoria University of Wellington, is encouraging everyone across New Zealand to take part in this year’s Great Kererū Count.

“From Friday 20 September until Sunday 29 September, everyone in New Zealand can get involved with the Great Kererū Count. Whether you see any kererū or not, sharing observations will help build up a clear picture of where kererū live, how many kererū there are or aren’t, what they are feeding on, and most importantly how best to protect them.

2019 is the sixth year of this citizen science project, and we are aiming for eight years of data to help us understand how best to promote healthy and abundant populations of kererū, which in turn will benefit the natural regeneration processes of native forests.”

Tony Stoddard of Kererū Discovery, who coordinates the Count says, “Each year the number of people taking part grows, proving just how much New Zealanders love kererū.”

According to Stoddard, this year will be a particularly important one for counting kererū. New Zealand’s mega-mast year has been well reported.

“Rats and stoat numbers are increasing to plague proportions in some places which is devastating for kererū.

Kererū are one of our few native species that lay just a single egg, which sits precariously on an open nest platform. While a fully grown adult kererū has the wing power to protect itself from predators, eggs and chicks are very vulnerable” says Stoddard.

“We are so grateful for the support from everyone taking part in this important project. Getting a better understanding of the impact of pests, pest control, and the importance of food sources for our much loved kererū is in the interest of all New Zealanders. I would like to encourage everyone to get out and have a go – let’s make Kererū count!”

The Great Kererū Count is a collaborative project brought to NZ by Kererū Discovery, Urban Wildlife Trust, in partnership with Wellington City Council, Dunedin City Council, Nelson City Council and Victoria University of Wellington

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