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Published: 2011-06-30 00:00:00

Hamilton’s abundant winter flower supplies are expected to draw bellbirds and tui to the city and Waikato Regional Council is encouraging members of the public to report any sightings.

The request coincides with the annual national ‘Garden Bird Survey’ running until this Sunday, 3 July.

Council natural heritage programme manager Kevin Collins said kohekohe and puriri are among this area’s only native plants to flower during winter, but there are plenty of other flowering plants which attract bellbirds and tui to the city at this time of year.

“It remains as important as ever for members of the public to let us know when and where they see bellbirds and tui so we can assess how well our pest control is protecting their breeding sites.

“While we continue to receive regular public information, the irony is that people have been less motivated to tell us when they see bellbird and tui out and about because it has become more common,” Mr Collins said.

Bellbird and tui sightings can be reported by calling 0800 800 401 or visiting the Hamilton Halo website, www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/HamiltonHalo 

Meanwhile, the Landcare Research garden bird survey asks people to record the largest number of each bird species seen at any one time in their garden or park in one hour of observation. You don’t even have to go outside – people can spot birds from their living room at home or a school classroom. The survey form is available by visiting www.landcareresearch.co.nz/research/biocons/gardenbird

Results from last year’s survey showed that silvereye were counted in greatest numbers, followed by house sparrows and starlings. There was an average of nearly 45 birds counted per garden. As in previous years, tui and fantail were the only native birds, besides silvereye, to make the top 10.

Regional councillor Paula Southgate said that reporting sightings through the Halo website and the annual survey were important tools to help understand how bird populations are faring in New Zealand.  

She noted that there had been more than 40 bellbird sightings reported to the regional council in the past year since the translocation of 50 from Auckland sanctuaries just over 12 months ago. Tui sightings are also becoming more common.

“It is encouraging to have such interest in and support for the work being undertaken to ensure these birds have every opportunity to successfully breed in Hamilton,” Cr Southgate said.

“More birds are a sign of a healthier overall environment – Hamilton Halo aims to improve urban biodiversity and the birds are a sign that it is working.

“To have the melodious song of bellbirds and tui heard again in Hamilton is something to celebrate, but we also need to work together to ensure the numbers grow,” Cr Southgate said.

To keep up to date with the latest news and information visit Hamilton Halo’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/hamiltonhalo