Citizen scientists needed for NZ Garden Bird Survey
3 July 2019
One of New Zealand’s longest running citizen science projects, the New Zealand Garden Bird Survey, has taken off again this week.
The survey, which has run for 12 years, has counted birds in more than 36,000 gardens during that time – but there is still more work to be done.
This year’s survey runs until Sunday 7 July. The more people who take part, the clearer the overall picture of our native and introduced bird species and the environment they live in.
To take part, simply spend an hour in your garden in the daytime and count the birds that you see. Parks and schools are also good locations to do the count.
Count sheets and further instructions are available here:
It’s easy to submit your survey, either online or by post. Once submitted, the surveys are analysed by Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research scientists who use them to produce the State of New Zealand Garden Birds report.
This year, as an added incentive we are offering prints from Buller’s Birds as spot prizes, with 47 to choose from, as well as a children’s colouring competition with prizes from Forest & Bird.
What did last year’s survey show?
The 2018 survey showed that kererū counts have risen rapidly since 2013, with an increase of more than 80% noted in Canterbury and Marlborough and more than 70% in Waikato and Hawke’s Bay. The numbers of tūī seen by survey participants increased 245% in Canterbury and 73% in Marlborough over the same period.
Manaaki Whenua research associate Dr Eric Spurr, who initiated this nationwide citizen science project in 2007, says the survey and its results are vitally important because birds act as ‘backyard barometers’, telling us about the health of environment in which we live.
‘The survey would not have been possible without volunteers,’ Dr Spurr says. ‘We are grateful to the many thousands of people, citizen scientists, who since the survey began 12 years ago have spent an hour each year counting birds in their gardens.’