Cheeky robins a measure of forest’s health

North Island Robin

The forest at Aongatete is now alive with birds after 12 years of pest control and soon 20 volunteers are going to prove it.

A count of North Island robin will take place in the forest on Sunday, 30 July, organized by the Aongatete Forest Project.

“Robins are cute, engaging, cheeky birds,” says project chair Barbara McGillivray, “and they’re also a good indicator that the forest is coming alive again.

“When I first started volunteering for pest control in 2007 if we heard just one robin on a baiting day we’d become excited, now you can even hear them from the carpark!”

Barbara said the robin count would give people the opportunity to experience the forest in a new way.

“We often think only scientists do this kind of work, but we can all experience what is rare and special in our environment.

“We are hoping to expose more people to the way counts are done, so that we can make this an annual event and in future broaden the surveyed area.”

Robins are territorial, and if you walk through the forest making a noise they’ll often fly down to see what’s happening. This makes them ideal subjects for a bird count.

The count will be led by former Forest & Bird president Dr Peter Maddison and birdsong expert Dr Ian McLean, and the 20 volunteers need no special skills or experience.

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