In the latest audio survey of kiwi bird populations in New Zealand’s North Island, many areas that were silent in 2016 now have airways filled with kiwi songs.
The high-pitched squeal of the male contrasts with the low growl of the females, but regardless of what sound it was, the early hours of December morning, when the latest survey was conducted, were filled with gasps of joy from 150 volunteer bird conservationists. .
The manual population survey, called Kiwi Call Count, uses the human ear to record the population numbers of the country’s five kiwi species to assess the status of birds in a given area. The same sites are used every year, and 2021 saw a 50% increase in the number of sites where calls were heard, while no site went silent in the past year.
A complex action plan was implemented to save the kiwi to combat invasive species to protect the national bird. early 90’s. Stoats, dogs, wild cats, and other introduced mammals have flourished in the easily-caught kiwi chicks, a species that evolved without native mammalian predators.
“Sitting out there and hearing how many kiwis there are and how close they are makes it worth the effort put into the catch,” said Ayla Wiles, a biodiversity ranger with the Department of Conservation. The Guardian.
This trap has been very successful and in 2017 two species of kiwi—The northern brown and the rowi, came out of the Endangered designation on the IUCN Red List. Wiles told reporters that some areas are seeing more of a sprint than a waddle. A place called Whangerei Heads has gone from having 80 kiwis to more than 1,000 since the program began.
As a night owl, the kiwi call is the most reliable way to track animals. The calls are easy to discern in the dark and even have unique characteristics that allow conservationists to recognize the same birds year after year.
“You can catch, you know, week after week after week, hoping your kiwi is okay,” said Ngaire Sullivan, an organizer. on the Kiwi Coast. “And then for four nights a year, just those eight hours … You sit there and listen to your result.”
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