During the lockdown earlier this year there were a lot more birds around – or so it was said.
But how can we really know how the wildlife in our suburbs is doing? And what does “more birds” actually mean? More sparrows and doves may not be a positive in the same way more tui and kereru would be.
To try and answer these questions, Forest and Bird runs an Annual November 5-Minute Bird Count at sites all over the Hibiscus Coast. The count last month was the eighth year it has been run.
With every year we get a better idea of what, if anything, is changing on the Hibiscus Coast due to Forest and Bird’s pest control and the bird population in Shakespear Regional Park increasing.
The results of these 5-minute counts aren’t in yet, but those involved learn a lot just by taking part. It is hard work focusing intently on what is going on in the landscape around you. Not only are you looking for birds, but listening too. In the bush you can only see so far, so the majority of birds counted will be heard and not seen.
This is where the Covid effect that made the news during lockdown may have come into play – firstly we were all out walking and consequently seeing more birds, but secondly, with so little traffic noise we were conscious of hearing more birds too. The Forest and Bird counts will help us see the full picture.
So now, at the end of a long and, at times, stressful year, the Christmas season is upon us. We are busy finishing off work, shopping and getting ready for the holidays. But don’t be overwhelmed.
Sit in your garden or lie down in the long grass somewhere, close your eyes, and for five minutes don’t think of your ‘to-do’ list. Just listen, relax, see how many different birds you can hear. Have a wonderful Christmas everyone.