TODAY |

Bird-watchers asked to keep an eagle eye out this week as part of annual survey

New Zealanders are being called to help count our bird population as part of an annual survey.

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Over the next week volunteers will be recording birds in their backyards. Source: 1 NEWS

It's hoped there'll be a lot of interest this year, after many people enjoyed bird-watching over lockdown.

Over the next week volunteers will be recording birds they see in their garden or at the park for Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

Ecologist, Angela Brandt says it provides a chance to gather more data about New Zealand birdlife.

“It gives us a very excellent long term data set of how birds are doing nationwide and in particular in urban areas where we don’t have quite as much data.”

Last year's survey saw an increase in the number of fantail (piwakawaka) 25 per cent, tui 24 per cent and keruru, 43 per cent.

But it's bad news for the song-thrush, the goldfinch and starling - all reporting a decline of between 15 and 25 per cent.

“That actually is a little bit of a concern because that might be telling us something is happening in the environment that is causing those declines,” Ms Brandt says.

Since 2007 40,000 surveys have been completed as part of the country's longest-running citizen science project.

The survey on the Manaaki Whenua website lists our most common garden birds in case you don't know what you're spotting. All you have to do is count how many birds you see in one location over one hour."

“Our participants often report feelings of wellbeing from just stopping for an hour, looking at nature. they also say they like contributing to something meaningful,” says Manaaki Whenua Chief Scientist.

And it's thought New Zealand's time in lockdown may have produced a few more bird-watchers.

“They actually had a lot of time to spend in their neighbourhoods going on walks and so on and we could hear the birds better because traffic noise and airplane noises and everything were so much reduced,” says Ms Brandt.