Bird Count

As we have very little data on the bird population in Okura Bush we felt it was necessary to establish a baseline in order to measure the impact of the trapping.

Tomtit photo by Geoff Reid - not seen on count day

Tomtit photo by Geoff Reid – not seen on count day

Anecdotal reports are that the bird song appears to have increased since the trapping began, but we were eager to identify which birds are regularly residing / visiting Okura bush.

The initial plan was to do a count each season. This needs more discussion with the volunteers.


  • 5 Minute Bird Count (5MBC)
  • Stations set 250m apart avoiding areas where duplication may occur, eg: where the track winds back on itself & where there were steps (for safety reasons)
  • All observations were made from the track
  • Volunteers were recruited following the AGM
  • Training was offered to volunteers as we were reliant on people being able to recognise bird calls & not on seeing the birds. This was one session, lasting approx 1hr 30mins, visiting 5 stations, waiting for 2 mins to allow the birds to settle prior to completing the 5MBC & comparing findings. This was done under the guidance of an expert to assist us with bird call recognition. It was also useful to discuss unusual calls.
  • Stations were marked with flagging tape & named ie. OB1 – OB17
  • A notebook was used to record the birds & data then transferred onto a spreadsheet. We also asked that volunteers did a hard copy just in case of computer problems
  • Methodology, recording template for the data, written instructions, trap number close to stations, & GPS co-ordinates were emailed to participants.
  • The counts were to take place between 12th October – 12th November
  • All counts to be done between 8am – 12 midday
  • Windy, rainy days to be avoided
  • Any bird seen, heard or flying at the named station was to be recorded. If a bird was first seen it was recorded as seen. If a bird was first heard it was recorded as heard. it was important to try to avoid counting the same bird twice
  • 17 stations were identified the last one being on the ridge overlooking Karepiro Bay
  • No counts were done on the Stillwater side of the Okura Bush Walk


Morepork photo by Geoff Reid - nocturnal so not seen during count

Morepork photo by Geoff Reid – nocturnal so not seen during count

We obtained 7 sets of data

Of 34 species on the count list 29 were recorded as being present.

Of the 5 species not recorded during the count:-

Tomtit was seen & heard (but not a count day). This was very exciting as 2 observers heard tomtits in different places so hopefully a possibility that there are a few around.

Morepork are nocturnal.

Kaka have been heard during the day near the car park Haigh Access.

Bellbird & starling were not observed.

The following are the totals of birds seen or heard during the counts
Species, 2015
Blackbird, 65
California quail, 19
Chaffinch, 80
Eastern Rosella, 132
Fantail, 79
Goldfinch, 20
Greenfinch, 16
Grey Warbler, 193
Kereru, 32
Kingfisher, 95
Myna, 36
Pheasant, 44
Shining Cuckoo, 39
Silver eye, 79
Skylark, 16
Spur-wing plover, 10
Tui, 324
White faced heron, 10

Can you help?

If you want to be involved in future bird counts please contact Gina Wilson

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