Image: DOC


Be a part of the annual New Zealand Garden Bird Survey, so we can learn more about our feathered friends. Earn a Kiwi Guardians medal for becoming a Manu Monitor.


Your backyard is a great place to practice your skills at doing a garden bird survey. The official Garden Bird Survey will be held between 27 June – 5 July 2020, but there’s no time like the present to survey which birds are living in your garden now.

Download this activity

Garden bird survey (PDF, 1758K)

Did you know?

  • The kererū is the only native bird that can eat the big fruit of important native trees like karaka, miro, tawa, and pūriri. This makes them vital for our forests. 
  • Many of the bird species around you have been introduced from different countries. Some of these are from the other side of the world, such as the sparrow and starling.
  • Tūī have two voice boxes that allow them to perform a wide range of noises. Some have even been taught human speech.

What to do

Bird surveyor badge.

1. Explore your backyard

Search for the perfect spot to do the survey. The best place is where you have a clear view of your garden and all its visitors. It should be close enough to see which species are there, but not too close that you scare them away.

Often, it's best to sit inside at a window, allowing the birds to relax and stay around.

For the more adventurous, you could construct a bird hide in your garden to give an unobstructed view of the birds.

2. Complete the garden bird survey

After you’ve found your perfect survey spot, it’s time to begin. Just follow the instructions below:

  1. Learn about the annual Garden Bird Survey, and download the tally sheet (or create your own).
  2. Choose a day that suits you to complete the survey.
  3. Get settled in your comfy seat in your survey spot.
  4. Look and listen for birds for one hour.
    Note: For younger children, you can break the hour into 10 or 15 minute sessions. They can make observations each day for a week, or several times in one day. 
  5. For each bird species you see, record the highest number seen at one time.
  6. Write this on your tally sheet when you see them.
  7. Record your findings on the Garden Bird Survey website and get your Garden Bird Survey code to claim your medal.

3. Record your thoughts

Now that you've been outside and observed birds, write down your thoughts and feelings about your outdoors space.

Claim your Kiwi Guardians Toa Manu-Bird Surveyor medal

After you've recorded your findings and have the Garden Bird Survey code, you can claim your medal.

Tell us about the birds in your garden:

  • What bird species visited your garden the most?
  • Who stayed the longest?
  • What time of day did you do your survey?

Complete the claim form to tell us about your activity, and we'll send you a medal. Each Kiwi Guardians action has a different medal – see how many you can collect.

Tells us about your activity

The team at Toyota Kiwi Guardians would love to hear about what you did. Send us an email, or share something online using #KiwiGuardians, so we can share it with others. Visit Kiwi Guardians Facebook page.

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