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Where are all the silvereyes?

Where are all the silvereyes?

Early results from the 2014 national Garden Bird Survey show a significant drop in the number of silvereyes counted.

The survey finished last weekend and organiser Eric Spurr says early returns show a ‘striking’ result of an average of just 4.5 silvereyes per garden, compared with 7.5 per garden last year.

This is the lowest count on record, although this could change as more results are returned and the data entered. Dr Spurr suggested this anomaly could be the result of the mild early winter meaning birds may not have had to come into gardens in search of food as much as they would when conditions are harsher.

So far 2554 returns have been submitted online and a further 620 by post but Dr Spurr expects more to be returned over the next week.

Meanwhile, House sparrow is by far the most numerous species counted again this year (average 11.8 per garden). This is slightly lower than last year (12.9 per garden), bucking the trend of increasing counts over the last seven years.

Counts of tui and fantail, two other species which have increased over the past seven years, are also slightly lower this year. One survey participant saw a partial albino fantail in their garden. Other partial albino birds seen this year were a house sparrow and a silvereye.

Dr Spurr said volunteers are still entering results online from returns of paper survey forms, and he encourages people to follow the progress of results on the garden bird survey website:

http://gardenbirdsurvey.landcareresearch.co.nz/

ends

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