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Bird Count in Taradale Sets Base Line

Bird Count in Taradale Sets Base Line

A bird count was completed in two possum control zones around Taradale last month.

The bird count will set a base line against which Hawke’s Bay Regional Council can, in the future, assess the outcomes of its urban possum control programme and benefits for the biodiversity of the area.

Ornithologist Dr Brent Stephenson measured the bird populations in the semi-rural area around Mission Winery where HBRC contractors did an initial possum control last year and now residents are maintaining bait stations on their properties. He also did a bird count in the Otatara-EIT area which is due to have a possum control programme start next summer.

Dr Stephenson is a highly regarded ornithologist who is based in Hawke’s Bay and his work was jointly funded by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and Napier City Council. The possum control programme is managed by the regional council, while the city council carries out control work in the city parks and reserves.

Napier City Council’s Reserves Asset Manager, Tony Billing, believes that this initiative is an excellent example of a symbiotic working relationship between the councils and the community. “It’s a clear demonstration of how the simple act of removing possums and predators from an urban environment can achieve dramatic results, and greatly increase the number, and diversity, of our native bird species.”

Following the first urban possum control trial on Napier Hill in 2009, the first bird monitor across the Hill showed an increase in most bird species, and tui and bellbirds are now commonly seen and heard throughout the area.

HBRC Land Services manager Campbell Leckie says, “The significant increase in native birds like tui and bellbird in our urban areas are a really visible proof of the success of the partnership between Napier City, the regional council and our community. It’s great to see the level of success we have achieved together on this project.”

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