Bird Count November 2022

Measuring results, bird counting season is underway – update from The Forest Bridge Ecologist Virginia Moreno

TFBT, landowners and volunteers put a lot of effort into protecting and restoring native habitats and we want to know if and how we are making a difference. It is therefore important for us to monitor the ecological outcomes of the work we do and forest birds are one of the most commonly used indicators of forest health. We count birds during spring when birds are more actively calling, between September and November (before the cicada’s start being so loud that you can’t hear the birds). We use the 5-minute bird count (5MBC) method which is DOC standard protocol and the most widely used method in NZ so we can compare our results with others. With the 5MBC we target forest birds (native and introduced) and then we can look at trends for a specific bird (e.g. Tui, Kereru) or we can see how the proportion of introduced vs. native changes, there are several ways we can analyse the data.

We select forest fragments where we want to monitor changes in bird abundance, and we establish several counting “stations”. At each station, we listen quietly for 5 minutes counting all birds (native and introduced) and we repeat this 3 times a year (within the counting season) every year. It is a long-term monitoring programme so stations are permanent (meaning we go back to the same spot next year), changes are usually small and can take several years until we can see a trend (5-10 years). We can’t do this everywhere, so we have selected some representative areas where we are supporting landowners with trapping and where we expect to see some changes.

It will be wonderful to be able to provide landowners and volunteers and The Forest Bridge Trust Team with results that show that all the hard work being done is paying off and making a difference to native birds.