Re­searcher calls for kereru watch­ers

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS ETHERIDGE

Alice Barany­ovits has grown up look­ing after na­ture.

‘‘I re­mem­ber at pri­mary school some­one had tied a worm to a fence and I made my head­mas­ter come out and tell them not to do that,’’ she says.

‘‘So it’s been a long time – started off sav­ing worms, then watch­ing birds,’’ she laughs.

By the time she was 14 she knew study­ing ecol­ogy was the path for her.

She left Cam­bridgeshire and moved to New Zealand two years ago to take up bio­di­ver­sity at the Univer­sity of Auck­land.

‘‘I’ve al­ways wanted to come here. The birds are just amaz­ing and so dif­fer­ent from ev­ery­thing else,’’ the Meadowbank res­i­dent says.

The move­ments of the kereru in Auck­land’s ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment are the fo­cus of her PhD – from which fruits they eat to the sub­urbs they pop­u­late.

Kereru, or na­tive pi­geon, live on a diet of fruit, in­clud­ing seeds.

The seeds are spread across the city through drop­pings.

Na­tives like puriri and karaka are favourites of the kereru.

But phoenix palms or lo­quats, both pest plants, also take their fancy.

Barany­ovits says kereru could be drop­ping the seeds of pest plants around Auck­land.

It is a dou­ble-edged sword as the pest fruits feed other na­tives, she says.

She is look­ing for vol­un­teers to record sight­ings – or non-sight­ings – of kereru in Auck­land’s ur­ban ar­eas for her re­search.

Barany­ovits wants to see how the species adapts as sub­urbs are built on tra­di­tional habi­tats.

Res­i­dents can record kereru sight­ings or non-sight­ings as they hap­pen, or take part in a quar­terly survey.

Dur­ing the the quar­terly survey res­i­dents spend 15 min­utes ev­ery three months doc­u­ment­ing back­yard kereru sight­ings.

There is also survey

of what fruit­ing plants pop up in res­i­den­tial gar­dens.

Photo: BRUCE MERCER Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Na­tive trea­sure: The na­tive kereru or New Zealand wood pi­geon.

Tak­ing notes: Alice Barany­ovits wants to know the eat­ing habits of kereru liv­ing in ur­ban Auck­land.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bour news.co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion for a short video on the kereru

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