The simple joy of counting birds

Atlasing at Pakiri Beach (Photo: Ellen Rykers)

How citizen science is helping to reveal the state of our feathered friends.

This is an excerpt from Ellen Ryker’s piece in the Spinoff’s weekly environmental newsletter Future Proof.

The annual Garden Bird Survey took place last week, calling on citizen scientists across Aotearoa to count the birds in their backyard, or at their local school, park or marae.

On a chilly morning, I took a woolly blanket, a cup of hot coffee and a bird tally sheet out into the garden. I sat and watched and listened for an hour. Two kākā screeching, several tūī robot-singing, the coos of spotted doves – I was surprised by how much I heard. I scanned the greenery and spotted the beefy white singlet of a kererū. I was reminded how lovely it is to take a moment in nature – and that it doesn’t need to be big, breathtaking nature. It can just be a fantail twittering on a perch in your urban backyard.

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