Who’s dropping by for a winter feed?

Who’s dropping by for a winter feed?

Identifying garden birds

Waking up to a chorus of bird song is one of the great delights of living in Aotearoa. But can you differentiate the chime of a korimako (bellbird) from the tūī in that kōwhai tree? Could you pick a yellowhammer from a line up of tauhou (silvereye)? And, for the love of all things feathered, why is the female blackbird brown?

The annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey each winter is a good time to study up. In order to tally the birds for the survey’s hour it’s good to establish a basic idea of who is regularly visiting.

First stop: the NZGBS Bird Identification tool. This is an excellent starting point with common garden visitors tidily divided into small (<15cm), medium (15 - 30cm) and large species (<30cm). A wonderful and easy-to-use library of bird recordings is also available to assist in identifying birds by the call.



For the record, we liked one Forest & Bird reader’s tip for the korimako or tūī conundrum: "Bellbirds can sound like tūī, but without the swearing at the end". Read more hilarious descriptions of the bird songs in this thread (and for more NZGBS action follow their Facebook page). Also, have a look at these great online tools… 


Experiencing birds in your green space

This fabulous resource was developed in conjunction with Landcare Research, the scientists behind the NZ Garden Bird survey. There are some great learning sequences for primary and secondary students, including a ‘Birds often found in NZ’ ID chart and teacher tips for carrying out an effective survey.

New Zealand Birds Online

This is a digital encyclopaedia of all birds found in New Zealand and is searchable by name, geographic distribution and conservation status. Visitors can search through information written by experts, listen to bird calls and browse over 8,700 photographs. There’s also a super handy bird identification tool for those tricky visitors.

DoC Bird Identification online course

This quick course helps you identify the 10 most commonly observed New Zealand forest birds. You’ll learn about the appearance, calls and habitat of birds like the silvereye, grey warbler, tomtit, chaffinch and rifleman. It’s loosely aimed at people who want to work or volunteer in conservation but anyone who’s interested can do it.

The New Zealand Bird Atlas

This ground breaking project aims to become the go-to authority on the state of New Zealand birds providing up to the hour data that will guide and influence national and regional government conservation policy planning for decades to come. The New Zealand Bird Atlas provides every New Zealander the chance to help our unique bird species in Aotearoa.
Whichever identification tool you use, make sure you join the count with us at https://gardenbirdsurvey.nz/
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