Students get wild about NZ
Wild About New Zealand educator
Birds are the focus this term for Wild About NZ students at local Western Bay of Plenty participating schools.
The students started the term with a refresher on New Zealand’s native and introduced birds following on from the garden bird survey last term.
They also have learned how to do five-minute bird surveys around the school grounds to look and listen for birds and can use their new skills to survey birds around their own place.
The first field trips of the term allowed the students to explore forest birds in their natural environment.
Fairhaven School students walked part of the tawa trig and fortunately most of the birds they saw were native birds.
They heard a grey warbler and pu¯keko, saw tui, harriers and piwakawaka (fantails). They also saw some holes in the bank that may be kingfisher nests.
On the way back to school a kereru¯ was spotted in downtown Te Puke. They were surprised but then realised that the trees lining the main street are pu¯riri trees whose berries are one of the kereru¯’s favourite.
On September 11 the group got to go to Maketu¯, lead by Tania Bramley from Maketu¯ Ongatoro Wetland Society.
Tania had a whole range of New Zealand native birds to show the students. All the birds were found around Maketu¯, some dead because of unfortunate circumstances.
A variable oyster catcher died because string was caught on its feet and it couldn’t walk to feed. A little blue penguin was killed by a dog on Newdicks Beach.
It’s really important to keep dogs on leads while near shore birds.
The students used binoculars to look for a check list of shore birds across the spit. Most of the birds were spotted including, black backed gulls, dotterels and a pair of caspian terns were fighting in the sky.
The students are looking forward to the term’s last event, the great kereru¯ count.
People can carry out their own bird observations at home including participating in the kereru¯ count.
Looking for plants birds are feeding on around the neighbourhood can give ideas on what to plant to attract birds into people’s gardens.
■ For more information about Wild About NZ check out our website www.wildaboutnz.co.nz
STUDENTS checking out the birds on Maketu¯ Spit as part of a Wild About NZ field trip.