Researcher calls for kereru watchers
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.
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