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Published: 2009-09-18 00:00:00

Dozens of tui sightings in and around Hamilton since July are an encouraging sign that the environment near the city is possibly becoming more supportive for the birds, says Environment Waikato.

The Hamilton Halo project is controlling pests such as possums and rats at various tui breeding sites within a 20 kilometre radius of the city. These pests feed on eggs and young birds in the nest.

The aim of the Halo pest control is to lift the numbers of tui visiting Hamilton so they will ultimately start nesting within the city.

In the July edition of the council’s Envirocare magazine, EW asked members of the public to report Hamilton tui sightings and their location.

Since then about 70 bird sightings have been reported to the council at a range of sites in and around the city.

"The number of sightings is very encouraging for the Halo Project," said biosecurity officer Ben Paris.

"Some five birds were spotted in one tree alone in Hamilton. Outside the city limits, we have also got a report of about 10 birds congregating at a site to Te Kowhai, and up to fifty near Maungakawa."

This spring EW is planning pest control at six tui breeding sites around the city. "We hope this will add further to the tui numbers that we’re seeing," said Mr Paris.

He also said efforts to plant kowhai around the city by the Tui 2000 group would help provide a food source for tui. More food source plants can be found on the Halo website www.ew.govt.nz/hamiltonhalo.