National kererū survey needs Kiwis’ help

 New Zealanders are asked to keep their eyes open for kererū from today until October 5 and log their findings on the Great Kererū Count website at www.kererucount.org.nz 

Kereru. Photo courtesy of DOC

Kereru. Photo courtesy of DOC

Anytime people see kererū during this time, they are asked to report this on the website, including what the bird was doing.

If people look for more than five minutes and don't see any kererū, they are asked to report this, too. Good places to look are gardens, parks, farms and forest areas.

Kererū – the native New Zealand pigeon, which is known as the kūkupa in Northland – play a crucial role in spreading the seeds of native plants, says event organiser and Kiwi Conservation Club Manager Tiff Stewart. 

“They are the only bird that can swallow large berries from trees like tawa, pūriri, miro and karaka so they play a key role in regenerating our broadleaf forests,” says Tiff Stewart. 

“So we really need to give kererū a hand. We’re hoping thousands of New Zealanders will get involved to help build a detailed picture of kererū distribution across the country.

“Groups all over New Zealand are holding kererū story times, kererū craft days and other events to celebrate this gorgeous bird. There are lots of resources for this on the Great Kererū Count website”.

The citizen science project is organised by Forest & Bird, the Kiwi Conservation Club for children and Kererū Discovery. The information collected will be shared with scientists, local bodies and community groups with an interest in kererū. 

This is the third year the event has run. Last year 2036 kererū were seen, with the top regions for sightings Auckland (462), Wellington (416) and Dunedin (377).

This year an app is also available for people to report kererū sightings