Dunedin has maintained its status as the native bird
capital of New Zealand, among main urban areas, recently
released figures in an annual bird survey suggest.
''Dunedin has a great selection and abundance of native
birds,'' survey organiser Eric Spurr, of Whangaparaoa, said.
''Dunedin has, for many species, the highest number of
[native] birds in an urban area in New Zealand,'' he said.
Dunedin and Otago bird lovers are also being asked to take
part in the latest bird survey, which starts today and
continues until next Sunday.
''The eighth annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey aims to
track the fortunes of our familiar feathered friends through
backyard bird watching,'' Mr Spurr said.
Participants are asked to spend one hour, during the survey
period, recording the birds that visit their garden, to
provide wildlife specialists with a picture of how native and
exotic birds are faring.
It was vital that participants recorded the largest number of
birds of the respective species they saw or heard at any one
time during the hour, to ensure that individual birds were
not counted twice, he said.
Dunedin and Otago bird lovers had enthusiastically supported
the survey in the past. Southern residents accounted for 444
(12.8%) of the 3476 participants in the national survey last
This was well above the percentage of households (5.1%) in
the Otago region. In total, 136,737 birds were counted
nationally during the survey, of which 20,819 (46.9 per
garden) were counted in Otago.
He noted that silvereye, also known as waxeye, was the most
numerous species counted in Otago over the years, at 20.5
sightings per garden last year, well up on the 7.5 national
By contrast, the house sparrow (12.8 sightings) was the most
frequently observed bird nationally, but was in second place
(9.6) in the southern figures last year.
The blackbird was the third most commonly sighted bird in
Dunedin and Otago, and the starling and bellbird shared
fourth spot (2 each).
Sightings of several native birds were higher in Dunedin and
Otago than elsewhere in the country, including bellbirds (at
2, five times the national average) and tui (1.9, well up on