Great Kereru Count takes off for final time

A kereru’s wings fan out as it comes in to land. New Zealanders are urged to take part in the...
A kereru’s wings fan out as it comes in to land. New Zealanders are urged to take part in the Great Kereru Count 2021 this week. PHOTO: TONY STODDARD/KERERU DISCOVERY
Look to the skies and listen out for whooshing wings, it is almost time for the Great Kereru Count 2021.

Starting this Friday, the annual kereru count is a citizen-science project aiming to find out more about kereru numbers around New Zealand.

Dunedin people can make a record of any kereru they spot during the week and submit their sightings online or through an app.

Last year Dunedin had the second-highest level of participation in New Zealand, with 1080 observations made and 2613 kereru counted — Auckland birdwatchers took the top spot.

This year marks the eighth and final year of the Great Kereru Count and organisers are hoping to cap the study with record numbers.

City Sanctuary, a Predator Free Dunedin project, is encouraging Dunedin residents to step up and have a go at counting kereru again this year.

City Sanctuary operations supervisor Catherine Bradley said understanding local kereru numbers helped focus predator control and conservation efforts.

‘‘Local kereru data gives us insight into where there is suitable habitat for kereru to thrive and helps us ensure our predator control efforts are fine-turned to help protect these taonga species,’’ Ms Bradley said.

‘‘It’s a great opportunity for Dunedin to get involved with conservation in a meaningful and easy way.’’

Kereru play a critical role in the health of native forests, because they are the one native bird left that is large enough to eat and disperse seeds of large native trees like tawa, taraire, hinau and miro.

The Great Kereru Count 2021 will run from September 17 to 26.

Observations are easy on the Great Kereru Count website www.greatkererucount.nz, simply use the quick observation page (no log-in required).

For more expert community scientists, the iNaturalist app can be downloaded free from www.greatkererucount.nz.

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