Count shows Dunedin well to kereru’s taste
DUNEDIN is emerging as a hot spot this year in a national count of kereru.
The Great Kereru Count started on September 22 and ends tomorrow.
The count is a national collaboration between WWFNew Zealand, Wellington City Council, Victoria University and Kereru Discovery.
Project Kereru rehabilitator Nik Hurring, of Dunedin, said it could be difficult to establish numbers of the birds, as they flew long distances most days.
‘‘It’s always been a little bit hitandmiss just to know what the population is,’’ Ms Hurring said.
But, anecdotally, there seemed to be more around, and the observations in the count appeared to show Dunedin was ‘‘a hotspot’’ for the birds.
A WWFNZ spokeswoman said figures for this year were yet to be tallied, but the city was ‘‘really shining’’ in terms of numbers.
They were well up on last year, when in the Otago region just 274 kereru were counted.
She said that number was in part due to a late spring and bad weather.
Ms Hurring said while the birds were at the lower end of the threat classification, in some parts of New Zealand they were no longer seen.
Apart from habitat loss, being ‘‘utterly accidentprone’’ was one problem for the birds. The deceptive appearance and solidity of windows was an aspect of modern life the birds struggled to deal with.
WWFNZ said the information collected from the project would be used by conservationists to better protect kereru and to help save native forests.
It has called on New Zealanders to make their final counts this weekend to help build up a comprehensive picture of where the native pigeon was, and was not, found.
Popular spots . . . Project Kereru rehabilitator Nik Hurring with a map of kereru sightings in Dunedin between September 22 and Thursday.