Count shows Dunedin well to kereru’s taste

Otago Daily Times - - Dunedin - DAVID LOUGHREY

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.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

PHOTO: LINDA ROBERT­SON/GRAPHIC: ALIS­TAIR CRAIG

Pop­u­lar spots . . . Project Kereru re­ha­bil­i­ta­tor Nik Hur­ring with a map of kereru sight­ings in Dunedin be­tween Septem­ber 22 and Thurs­day.

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