Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Who is involved?

Building a picture of the State of NZ Garden Birds is very much a team effort.…..

The importance of volunteers

The results presented in the State of NZ Garden Birds 2016 - Te āhua o ngā manu o te kāri i Aotearoa report are based on information gathered by volunteers taking part in the New Zealand Garden Bird Survey.

Each winter thousands of volunteers search for birds in their gardens for one hour and, for each species they detect, record the highest number of individuals counted at one time.

Since the survey began in 2007, almost 29,000 gardens have been surveyed across the country.

The importance of partnerships

The NZ Garden Bird Survey, which is led by Landcare Research, is very much a collaborative effort involving a host of organisations and individuals. It is organised by Eric Spurr, who established partnerships with Forest and Bird, Birds NZ and Topflite in the early days. Emerging partnerships include those with NatureWatch, LEARNZ and the Department of Conservation, all of whom have contributed to facilitating increased participation by schools in particular.  

Over the last three years or so, the MBIE-funded research programme Building Trustworthy Biodiversity Indicators led by Catriona MacLeod has worked closely with Eric Spurr to enhance the NZ Garden Bird Survey. This programme aimed to ensure that we are making the best use of the existing data and building on it, informing the development of the State of NZ Garden Birds 2016 report.

Again, this has been very much a team effort – drawing a diverse range of skills to improve how we process and communicate the NZ Garden Bird Survey data and results. The analytical developments have been brought about by a dedicated group of young and emerging quantitative ecologists based at Landcare Research - Simon Howard, Peter Green, Andrew Gormley and Angela Brandt. The Landcare Research graphics team and webmaster worked with Fabiola Rodríguez Estrada (Links Communication and Design) and Mary Brake (Reflection Graphics) to develop new supporting material and enhance the data visualisation. Improvements in the use of social media to build an online social and learning hub for NZGBS volunteers have been facilitated by our research partnership with Nancy Longnecker and Andrea Liberatore at the Science Communication Centre at the University of Otago.

We have also been working with Māori researchers to explore mechanisms for better reflecting the relationship between tangata whenua and birds. This includes making better use of Māori bird names in our reporting and supporting resources. Priscilla Wehi (Landcare Research), who has led these developments, has been working in consultation with Hēmi Whaanga, Tom Roa and Rangi Matamua (Waikato University) and Paul Scofield (Canterbury Museum) as well as Te Waiarani Harawira, Wena Harawira and Te Aniwaniwa Wehi.

Garden Bird Survey partners