View from the Deck

Alan Jolliffe

Over the weekend we were able to have lunch on the deck and I reflected on the talk given by Prof  Dave Kelly at the CHS last week. In a nutshell he told us that birds are really important in spreading native plant seeds and shifting pollen from one plant to another. The best birds are silvereye, bellbird, tui and keruru.

So I counted the birds at home, 30 silvereye, five fantails, four blackbirds, two thrush, eight sparrows and two starlings. Also two monarch butterflies. Not bad! We have only had bellbirds in the trees for short periods in the last two years. We also have had kingfishers and white faced herons, ducks, pukeko and a few others.

So the best we have is silvereyes, a few bellbirds no tui and no keruru. Tui were extinct in Canterbury and have been reintroduced and keruru are increasing slowly in numbers.

To increase the numbers we have to look at bird habitats where there is plenty of shelter, food and water with no cats or other predators. Easy? Not likely. We need to spend a bit of extra time thinking about our gardens and urban landscape, what to plant where and then keep our predator population down.
I am looking forward to Colin Meurk’s talk on 12 June about “Threats and Opportunities for Native Plants in Canterbury “ so I can do my bit to increase plant and bird numbers.