Seeds of thought - How wild birds grow forests

June 18, 2021

We’re taught from an early age that birds need trees to live in. But so too do trees often need birds to survive…

Internationally there are some great examples of birds helping to grow valuable areas of forest. Take for instance the Pink-Necked Green Pigeon of South-East Asia, a bird known for its seed dispersing abilities.

The PNGP (yes, we’re calling it that) is thought to be responsible for helping to return the ficus species back to Krakatoa after the infamous volcano destroyed vegetation on the original island.

Closer to home and the kererū is renowned for spreading seeds from over 70 native plant species far and wide. The big and bold bird is the only native large enough to eat some of the larger fruit from important forest trees like miro, tawa and karaka.

Having eaten their share of fruit and seed they then fly often long distances before expelling the seeds elsewhere, all within a perfectly natural fertilised package. This beautiful bird is also responsible for increasing the coverage of rimu, kahikatea and nikau too. Other native species also help spread valuable seed around New Zealand.

What can you do to help out? To start with, you can plant native trees of your own to attract feeding native birds. When food is scare during the autumn and winter months you can also supplement their diet with a range of wild bird feed options.

There are so many reasons to love our ‘locals’. Along with their unique shapes, colours and birdsong the role they play in the wider ecosystem is hugely important. Helping New Zealand’s native birds survive is therefore something all of the country should be behind.






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