Sep 28: Conduct a 5-minute bird count

Conduct a 5-minute bird count

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Below are some talking points and activities to pass the time, all relating to today’s story.

Talking points

Discuss the ideas presented in the story with your family—at home or over video conferencing. Find ways to involve as many people as possible, especially those who you know are isolated by the lock-down.

  • The introduced predators New Zealand wants to get rid of are stoats, ferrets, weasels, possums and three species of rat. Which of these have you seen/heard evidence of – either at your place or in the wild? Can you name the three species of rat, or tell the difference between a stoat, ferret and weasel? If not, how could you learn to do this?
  • The article starts when the author is in a helicopter, heading over the Main Divide to the Perth Valley. Can you find these places on a map?
  • What do you think of the trapping inventions ZIP has come up with – such as the egg-mayonnaise dispenser? Did they give you any good ideas for a trap that could be invented?
  • Wellingtonians have found that trapping has bought lots of benefits to them as a community. Have you done any trapping? If not, can you find out how to get started in your neighbourhood?
  • To increase volunteer numbers in Otago, Bruce Kyle is described as relying on “a human version of the halo effect – people starting to see taonga species in Dunedin city, noticing the increase in birdsong, seeing the forest canopy on the peninsula grow thick and lush, and wanting to be part of the project.” What do you think is meant by the reference to a halo effect?

Activity: Conduct a 5-minute bird count

See how birdlife is faring in your backyard, or a location of your choosing in your area.

You will need:

  • A pen and paper and clipboard or book to press on
  • A watch or timer
  • A bird book if you have one

Step One: Prepare your paper by writing down your name, location, date, start time and weather variables: sun, temperature, wind, precipitation, any other noise.

Step Two: Sit down quietly in the location of your choice. You will stay in that place for five minutes. Set your timer for 5 minutes.

Step Three: Start your timer. For the five minutes until your timer goes off, write down the species and number of any birds you see or hear. Each bird should only be recorded once within that period. Try to record only birds that you see within a 200m distance from your observation point.

For more detailed information about 5-minute bird counts, visit DOC’s website here.

Send us a picture of you conducting your bird count!