The dawn chorus of our native birds is world class, and locals will have a chance to hear it next month at a Breakfast With The Birds event at Aongatete Forest.

The event is being organized by the Aongatete Forest Trust, and chairwoman Barbara McGillivray says it will be something special.

“We have been doing predator control in the forest for 10 years now, and we thought it would be a good opportunity for people to get the chance to hear the result of that work.”

The breakfast event actually begins on Friday night, October 14th, with dinner at the Aongatete Outdoor Education Centre. There will be a night walk in the forest guided by Rotorua spider expert Bryce McQuillan and environmentalist Ian McLean, then it’s early to bed to be ready for the main event.

“We will wake people early, and they can either lie in bed and listen to the birdsong, sit on the verandah or venture out into the bush,” says Barbara. “There will also be members of the local Ornithological Society present so there will be plenty of opportunity to identify individual birdsong.”

After the chorus, breakfast will be served at the lodge, then Barbara says people are free to leave early to get on with their Saturday morning activities, or they can stay and enjoy a bush walk.

Barbara says New Zealand’s dawn chorus has to be heard to be believed. “The naturalist Joseph Banks described New Zealand’s birds as making the most melodious wild music he had ever heard. We really wanted people to be able to hear that for themselves.”

Barbara said despite the many years of pest control in the forest there is still much to be done. “We monitor pest numbers, and they are still too high for us to reintroduce birds such as the kokako. But we are committed to continuing the work of the trust and ultimately bringing back all the bird species to Aongatete.”

The haunting sound of the kokako may be missing from Aongatete Forest, but those attending Breakfast With The Birds will still be able to hear tui, bellbird, riflemen, tomtit, fantail, grey warbler and the North Island Robin, among others.