Nelsonians are being encouraged to get involved in the Great Kererū Count which runs from September 19 to 27.
The Great Kererū Count is the largest citizen science project in the country helping to gather information on the abundance and distribution of the New Zealand wood pigeon – also known as the kererū, kuku or kukupa. By counting kererū in backyards, schools, parks or reserves – Nelsonians can help discover where these “gardeners of the skies” live, how many there are, and what they eat.
Kererū are the only bird large enough to eat and disperse the large fruit of native trees such as tawa/taraire, pūriri and mataī. These conspicuous native birds are easy to spot and identify.
They are classified as not threatened but recognised by the Department of Conservation as being essential for forest regeneration. The project is supported by World Wildlife Fund New Zealand and Forest and Bird.
Nelson city councillor Brian McGurk says the count will be used as baseline data for the council’s multi-million dollar Nelson Nature programme of work to improve biodiversity. Nelson Nature is a 10-year council project dedicated to protecting and restoring Nelson’s environment.
“People can either do a timed observation or a one off sighting,” he says. “This event finishes up on the first weekend of the school holidays so it’s a good way to keep the kids entertained, educated and enjoying nature all at once.
“Kererū are sensitive to changes to their habitat. We hope by helping to bring back Nelson’s precious biodiversity through Nelson Nature, we will see more kererū in our backyards in years to come.”
Information about kererū sightings can be entered on the website greatkererucount.nz
All you need to enter is where and when you saw kererū, and how many you saw. If you saw no birds, please enter that too.