Every kererū counts – how our native bird holds the key to biodiversity
This year marks the 17th year that Greater Wellington Regional Council has monitored kererū in Kaitoke Regional Park to track their health, which is essential to our native bush regeneration and wider biodiversity.
With the results in, a soaring number of kererū were recorded at an average of 107 birds, compared to an average of 71 birds last year.
Kererū are considered a ‘keystone’ species as they are one of the few native species left that can eat larger fruits, making them essential dispersers for some native trees, says Faline Drummond, Greater Wellington environmental monitoring officer.
“They are also excellent species that provide an indicator of biodiversity health, which is primarily achieved through ongoing pest control on council managed lands,” adds Faline.
Greater Wellington’s kererū count is a month-long task that involves an understanding of kererū to routinely monitor the park.
This monitoring is separate from the Great Kererū Count which is a nationwide citizen science project run by Urban Wildlife Trust & Kererū Discovery, however their data is included in Greater Wellington’s results.
“Since we started the counts in 2003, we’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of kererū which is due to the increased efforts to control pests through official programmes and the community.”
Despite kererū’s rising numbers, they are still under threat by mustelid and rodents – especially now that it is breeding season.
Greater Wellington councillor, Prue Lamason says, “These numbers are really important for us to understand kererū movements, breeding patterns and to measure the benefits of the ongoing pest control in park’s in the area.”
“We’re calling on the community to keep up the good work, we can all play our part by trapping in our backyards and planting native trees such as kowhai, hinau, tawa, miro and manatu lowland ribbon wood,” adds Cr Lamason.
For more information on our monitoring programmes, visit our Terrestrial Ecology page.