Posted on 24th September, 2020
The Great Kererū Count is NZ’s biggest citizen science project to help gather information on the abundance and distribution of the New Zealand pigeon — also known as kererū, kūkū or kūkupa.
The Great Kererū Count was set up to help us get a better understanding of kererū numbers and distribution across New Zealand. The Great Kererū Count is an annual citizen science project and the more people who participate, the better the understanding we will get on how kererū are doing across the country. The previous 4 years have proven the level of interest and love New Zealanders hold for kererū, in turn, showing how culturally and ecologically significant kererū are to us all. We have around 3 years left of data to collect so it’s incredibly important for us to complete this journey with you, our citizen scientists. Everyone in New Zealand can get involved with the Great Kererū Count, whether you see any kererū or not, sharing observations will help build up a clearer picture of where the kererū live, how many kererū there are or aren’t, what they are feeding on and most importantly how best to protect them.
Why get involved? Kererū are protected birds and endemic to New Zealand. Kererū numbers today are much lower than the flocks reported from 50-100 years ago. Despite this, they do not have formal threatened status. This means that the Great Kererū Count is the only centralised data gathered to monitor the overall national trends of this significant bird. Kererū play a crucial role in dispersing the large fruits of our native trees such as tawa, taraire and matai and many more. No other mainland bird is large enough to fulfil this function, making the species essential for forest regeneration. Information and data collected from this nationwide citizen science project will be used to better protect kererū and to help save our native forests. Protecting kererū helps protect our native ecosystems.
We are ALL about the conservation of our native flora and fauna so a project like this gives us all the good vibes. There are quite a few delightfully cheeky resident Kererū that live around our nursery that keep us well entertained and distracted from work. You've got to be ready to jump out of the way if you are in their flight paths when you are here for a visit because they don't like to go off course much and they have been known to give our lovely customers a 'brush' out of the way.
We hope you can get outside this weekend and enjoy some fresh air, happy counting!