In the early 1900s the Hibiscus Coast was largely farmland – you’ve no doubt seen the early photos of a barren peninsula with a few small pockets of bush. Even the coastal cliffs, which now have a good covering of pohutukawa, were largely bare.
This left the Coast with little bird life aside from the introduced open country species.
As suburbia crept over the area, the situation improved. There is certainly a wider variety of birds in my neighbourhood now than in the open sheep paddocks it was built on. Fantails and silvereyes, for example, do well in the mix of vegetation we grow in our gardens.
Even tui and kereru are doing well in the suburban Hibiscus Coast. But we really have to thank pest-free Tiritiri Matangi Island and Shakespear Park, along with pest control in parks such as Wenderholm, for the large number of kereru. These long-lived birds breed well in the possum free park environment and travel long distances into our gardens.
However, for some less common native birds – robins and whiteheads for example – there is no substitute for bush. While most of the recent bird arrivals on the Coast are here because they like the open environment created by people, many native birds are more at home in native vegetation.
If we want these birds to settle among us when they fly the Shakespear Open Sanctuary fence, then we need to look after the bush we have and continue to plant more where we can.
Over the last few years Forest and Bird has been holding annual planting days at Karaka Cove beside Whangaparāoa Road. If you haven’t visited it, there’s a lovely little walk from the bottom end of Matheson Road. You’ll see kereru and tui in the older trees but also plenty of fantails and greywarblers around the newer plantings.
Forest and Bird has a planting day at Karaka Cove on August 7 at 9.30am. Come along and plant some trees, then sit back and wait. The birds will come.