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Published: 2013-07-03 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is celebrating five years of the Hamilton Halo project with a photo competition offering cool prizes.

The competition coincides with July’s national Biosecurity Month which is being supported by the council.

Hamilton Halo has successfully involved rat and possum control at key bird breeding sites around Hamilton to encourage tui and other native birds back to the city.

Five years ago, seeing a tui in Hamilton was extremely rare. The latest Hamilton city biennial bird count report by Landcare Research said the abundance of tui in Hamilton increased significantly between 2004 and 2012 in all areas and seasons.

The council’s new competition is for photos of a tui, bellbird or kereru taken within 20 kilometres of Hamilton, with prizes for best overall photo and a people’s choice award.

The competition is being supported by the Waikato Times, with photographer Peter Drury joining the judging panel.

Prizes for best overall photo include a one year family pass to Hamilton Zoo and an A3 print of the winning photo on canvas. The prize for the people’s choice award is a copy of Raglan wildlife photographer Trevor Penfold’s Visions of Nature – New Zealand’s Wild in the West.

Entries should be sent to halo@waikatoregion.govt.nz with details of who took the photo and where. Entries close Wednesday, 31 July 2013.

For more information on how to identify tui and bellbirds, as well as on the competition, go to www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/hamiltonhalo or www.facebook.com/hamiltonhalo.

A gardener’s guide has been developed to assist residents in selecting plants that are good food sources for native birds. Copies of the gardener’s guide are available by visiting www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/hamiltonhalo or by phoning 0800 800 401.