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KIWI COUNT - How many are out there? - 15 April 2006

Kiwi are getting fresh. This normally solitary bird is feeling warm and friendly and the hunt is on for a mate.

But kiwi flirting is not a quiet affair. In fact they shriek at the top of their lungs and hope a potential partner is impressed.

In kiwi areas all over the Far North at present, the night sky is riven with the high pitched calls of the males and the lower, huskier answers of the females.

At no other time of the year are kiwi so talkative. Therefore it's the perfect time to do a survey of kiwi numbers.

The New Zealand Kiwi Foundation is looking for volunteers who wish to learn how to recognise the call of the kiwi and help us find out how many birds we have.

Tim Robinson, who is running the monitoring programme for the Kiwi Foundation, says that without knowing where kiwi are we cannot protect them and their habitat.

He adds: “We also need to monitor whether numbers of kiwi are increasing or decreasing. If they are increasing then we can be confident that our pest control measures are working, but if we find they are decreasing then we can find out why and try to do something about it.”

This year the foundation plans to have five monitoring stations on the Purerua Peninsula and five on the Kerikeri Peninsula. Other stations will be opened if there are enough volunteers. All the information gathered will be passed on to a national database run by Department of Conservation.

Full training and mentoring will be offered and monitors will work in small groups over four nights between 19th May and 7th June.

Anyone interested in getting involved should ring Tim Robinson on 09 401 7104 or email him at tim_mrobinson@hotmail.com

Keep our kiwi areas pest free and pet free. Pest free + pet free = kiwi are free