Bird Monitoring

Science Fair Project 2014

by Ethan MCCORMICK (Somerville Intermediate)

I live near the Mangemangeroa Reserve in Howick and love walking the area. I have been involved with the replanting of the reserve and became interested in how this was affecting birdlife in the area.

For my science project this year I decided to find out what the birdlife was like on the Mangemangeroa Reserve and look at how the replanting had affected it. I researched the history and types of plants in the area and found results from a 2005 bird survey by Reverend Bruce Keeley. I then researched bird survey methods and decided on the 5 Minute Bird Count Method to survey land based birdlife in three areas of the reserve (existing forest, established replanted and newly planted areas). I carried out 27 surveys over 3 days and was able to compare bird numbers and species in each area. I also compared my results to the 2005 bird survey.

My results showed that the numbers or diversity of land based species in the reserve have increased particularly in the replanted areas. This appears to be due to the more diverse habitats that the replantings have provided. The different habitats also affect the spread of some species as some prefer particular habitats over others due to plants, food or terrain. For example, tuis were a lot more common in the existing forested areas while fantails were more common in the replanted areas.

It was difficult to compare my results directly to the 2005 bird survey due to different survey methods and seasons, however the relative abundance of some birds appears to have changed. Starlings, tuis, sparrows and fantails appear to be a lot more common while kereru and rosella are slightly more common.

My project gained 3rd place at the NIWA Manukau Science Fair in the Year 7/8 Environmental Science Category. I also received The NZ Heritage Award and the Best Year 7 Project Award. I would like to carry out further surveys on the Mangemangeroa Reserve to see how the birdlife changes with the seasons and to gain a better picture of bird numbers.