Date: 23 May 2013
Kiwi listeners throughout the Northland region are gearing up for the annual kiwi call count survey, with some stations about to receive their 20th year of data collection. The survey starts 28 May 2013, and continues through to 17 June 2013.
The job description for these hardy kiwi listeners is not too appealing; they are required to sit outside, often in the middle of nowhere, usually alone, in the cold and dark, for eight hours spread over four nights, and most are unpaid volunteers!
But the reward for this work is priceless. Veteran DOC kiwi listener Pete Graham explains, "When that first eerie, hauntingly beautiful call launches out of the darkness, it is hard not to get shivers down your spine. Even more so when you consider that you are listening to the call of our national icon, one which most kiwi people will have little or no contact with".
The data collected during the kiwi call count surveys is invaluable; it gives an indication of the overall kiwi population, and can show population changes over time. The good news is that data collected during these surveys shows that the kiwi call count rates have remained relatively stable over the last two decades throughout most of the Northland region.
The continued survival of kiwi in Northland is thanks to the hard work that many communities are putting in to kiwi protection in their area, especially good dog control.
Mr. Graham has been involved in kiwi call count monitoring for more than a decade. When asked what keeps him motivated to carry on year after year, he responds, "Each call that I hear is still a little thrilling, as it shows we are doing something right to protect kiwi. And if it starts to feel too cold, I just remind myself that there is air conditioning in the truck for the drive home!"
If you want to be involved as a kiwi listener, please contact your local DOC office.
Kiwis for kiwiTM
- is the trading name of The Kiwi Trust
- was established in October 2012, and continues more than two decades of work by BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust to help protect kiwi and the places they live.
- raises and distributes funds to community, DOC and volunteer groups helping save kiwi throughout the country.
- works in partnership with DOC with a vision to take kiwi from endangered to everywhere.
Our national icon – the kiwi – is under siege from stoats, dogs, cats, rats and loss of habitat. Just one hundred years ago, there were more than a million kiwi roaming throughout New Zealand. Today there are less than 70,000. Without urgent action, kiwi numbers will continue to fall with the risk that they will disappear in the wild.
BNZ Operation Nest EggTM is a powerful tool to reverse the decline of kiwi populations. Eggs and chicks are harvested from nests to save them from stoats and cats. The young kiwi are returned to the wild when they weigh about 1.2 kg, big enough to fight off these predators. More than 2,000 kiwi chicks have been returned to the wild since its inception in 1994, with captive facilities and hundreds of field workers from DOC and community groups throughout the country contributing to its success.