Have you seen a kereru¯ ?

South Taranaki Star - - OUT & ABOUT - KRIS BOULT

Taranaki peo­ple are be­ing urged to keep an eye on the skies and a look­out out for kereru¯ to help find out where the na­tive pi­geons do and don’t go.

Wild for Taranaki, a group in­volved in con­ser­va­tion work in the re­gion.are en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to join the Great Kereru¯ Count that runs un­til Oc­to­ber 1.

‘‘The peo­ple of Taranaki share their lives with kereru¯ and they are a fa­mil­iar res­i­dent of ur­ban gar­dens, parks, bush rem­nants and large forested ar­eas.’’ Wild for Taranaki Re­gional Co-or­di­na­tor Leigh

Hon­nor said.

The kereru¯ is one of New Zealand’s most valu­able as­sets when it comes to our na­tive forests and plays a cru­cial role in dis­pers­ing seeds of our na­tive trees such as tawa, taraire and matai. No other bird can ful­fil this func­tion, mak­ing the species es­sen­tial for for­est re­gen­er­a­tion.

‘‘The sur­vival of the kereru¯ in Taranaki is threat­ened by preda­tors, win­dow strike and col­li­sions with ve­hi­cles,’’ Hon­nor said.

In 2016, there were 5880 ob­ser­va­tions and 11,990 of the birds counted na­tion­ally.

WWF-New Zealand’s chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Livia Ester­hazy said that given the eco­log­i­cal im­por­tance of kereru¯ the data from the count was crit­i­cal not just for pro­tect­ing this species, but for en­sur­ing the vi­tal­ity of for­est ecosys­tems for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

‘‘Large flocks of more than 100 kereru¯ were once a com­mon sight in skies over New Zealand – our am­bi­tion is to see them in abun­dance again,’’ Ester­hazy said.

‘‘We’re en­cour­ag­ing New Zealan­ders to take part by count­ing the kereru¯ in back­yards, schools, parks or re­serves. The in­for­ma­tion col­lected from this na­tion-wide project will be used by con­ser­va­tion­ists to bet­ter pro­tect kereru¯ and to help save our na­tive forests.’’

Ester­hazy said kereru¯ were large, distinc­tive look­ing birds with bright white sin­glets, sur­rounded by green and purple plumage mak­ing them easy to spot perched in tree­tops or on power lines.

Any­one who wants to take part in the count can do so at these web­sites www.greatk­ere­ru­count.nz, www.na­ture­watch.org.nz or with the iNat­u­ral­ist App avail­able on iTunes and Google Play.

TONY STODDARD

Kereru¯ are quite distinc­tive look­ing birds.

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