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Make our birds count

GISBORNE birdwatchers, it is nearly time for the annual Garden Bird Survey, New Zealand's longest-running citizen science project, led by Manaaki Whenua — Landcare Research.

Starting on Saturday, the survey runs until July 4 and all people need to do is find one hour to look and listen to the birds.

Taking part is easy. Visit the NZ Garden Bird Survey website to download a tally sheet, then head into your backyard, a local park, marae, or even a school and record the birds you see or hear.

Submit the results online at gardenbirdsurvey.landcareresearch.co.nz

To let other citizen scientists know what you have recorded, join the Facebook group New Zealand Garden Bird Survey or contribute to the conversation with the hashtag #NZGardenBirdSurvey and @NZGardenBirds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Past data from the survey shows numbers of some native and introduced garden bird species are increasing across New Zealand.

The findings are contained in the State of New Zealand Garden Birds 2020 — Te Ahua o nga Manu o te Kari i Aotearoa report released by Manaaki Whenua — Landcare Research last week.

NZ Garden Bird Survey founder Dr Eric Spurr said the results are very encouraging and show the value of long-term citizen science monitoring.

“After 15 years, the survey results demonstrate that several native bird species, including kereru, tui, and fantail, are increasing in abundance in our gardens.

“The survey cannot determine the causes of these increases, but it is tempting to suggest that they reflect the results of ever-increasing community predator control and habitat restoration activities around the country.”