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Protecting braided river habitats for threatened birds

Protecting braided river habitats for threatened birds

New Zealand’s iconic braided rivers are home to unique and endangered birds. BRaid, a conservation group dedicated to protecting braided river ecosystems, are holding a braided river bird course during Conservation Week, Tuesday 03 November, at Lincoln Events Centre. The course, from 10am-4.00pm is free, with morning, afternoon tea, and lunch included.

Led by John Dowding, arguably New Zealand’s’ foremost practical shorebird expert, the course has been hugely popular in the past. Participants have come from regional and district councils, the Department of Conservation, Canterbury Water Zone Committees, commercial and recreational river users and members of the public interested in braided rivers and their incredible birdlife.

BRaid chairman Nick Ledgard says Mr Dowding has proved to be an excellent tutor. “In past courses, there were audible exclamations of disbelief as John explained the perilous state of so many of our native birds. The training course helps to raise awareness and promote protection measures.”

The dynamic, ever-changing nature of braided rivers gives them a unique character and makes them rare in the world context. Of the 7 braided river specialist bird species, 5 are threatened, with the kak?/black stilt and the tar?puka/black-billed gull just one step from extinction (nationally critical), while the turiwhatu/banded dotterel and ngutu pare/wrybill, the only bird in the world with a bill that’s bent sideways, are nationally vulnerable.

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Protection of braided river habitat and managing the threats to resident birds are also themes. “John discusses is how we should prioritise the use of limited resources, the decreasing role of government agencies (such as DOC), the rising importance of territorial authorities and community groups, the need for greater public awareness, plus the influence of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy,” Mr Ledgard said.

The course is open to everyone, with registration at www.braided-river-birds.eventbrite.co.nz .

BRaid is also running free half-day trapping workshops in Rangiora Saturday 17 October and Geraldine Saturday 31 October. The workshops include an overview of pest management and practical, hands on use of trap types and trapping methods to control feral cats, mustelids (stoats, ferrets, and weasels), hedgehogs and rats.

The workshops are open to everyone interested in protecting our native wildlife, Register for them here: www.trap-rangiora.eventbrite.co.nz or www.trap-geraldine.eventbrite.co.nz


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