INDEPENDENT NEWS

Importance of LongTerm Monitoring for Native Birds

Published: Thu 1 Jun 2017 10:48 AM
Birds New Zealand is the popular name for The Ornithological Society of New Zealand Inc
PRESS RELEASE 31 May 2017
PCE REPORT SHOWS IMPORTANCE OF LONGTERM MONITORING FOR NATIVE BIRDS
A new report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment draws attention to the perilous state of the majority of New Zealand’s native bird species. This comes as no surprise to Birds New Zealand, a society whose members have been monitoring population trends in our birds for 80 years.
Society president, David Lawrie, welcomed the report, ‘Taonga of an Island Nation: saving New Zealand Birds’, commenting that “This report is necessary because of the identified plight of New Zealand birds, many of which are in decline despite the best efforts of the Department of Conservation and the many conservation groups throughout New Zealand.”
“Birds New Zealand knows that longterm data collection is crucial for establishing population trends. As a society, we have collected eight decades of data on native bird species throughout the country, which we regularly share in our publicly accessible science journal ‘Notornis’.
“The fact that the trends we’ve recorded have been used by the Commissioner for this new report is a wonderful endorsement of the substantial effort put in by our volunteer members over many years.
“Much of the data establishing the status of birds in this country have been derived from the two bird distribution atlases prepared by Birds New Zealand. These projects documented changes in the occurrence of native species over a 20 year period. Unfortunately, many of the changes in distribution we found were negative, even for several species that are considered relatively common such as the fantail and the gulls regularly seen on beaches.”
The release of the Commissioner’s report is particularly timely as Birds New Zealand members will be meeting in Te Anau over Queen’s Birthday weekend for their annual conference. Mr Lawrie is sure the report will form the basis of many of the discussions and as the organisation looks for research priorities for the future. “More than anything,” he concludes, “the Commissioner’s report is a really accessible document that’s actually enjoyable to read. We’re always keen to welcome new bird enthusiasts to help with monitoring – hopefully the report will show people what a valuable contribution that can be.”

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