Stu­dents get wild about NZ

Te Puke Times - - NEWS - By STACEY WALDEN

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.wild­

STU­DENTS check­ing out the birds on Maketu¯ Spit as part of a Wild About NZ field trip.

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