Wednesday, February 19, 2020


Sat, 10/09/2016 - 11:27

Read results of Johannes Fischer's study on South Georgian Diving Petrels on Codfish Island here.

This project was funded by the 2015 Birds New Zealand Research Fund.


Sat, 30/07/2016 - 09:12

After a successful pilot study in 2014, GPS tracking of breeding Fiordland penguins/tawaki during the strong el Nino of the 2015/16 season has revealed remarkable differences in foraging behaviour and breeding success between penguins from Jackson Head and Milford Sound. While the West Coast birds travelled hundreds of kilometers in search for prey for their chicks, their Fiordland counterparts did not even have to leave the fiord to sustain their offspring. Adding Codfish Island as third study site this season, the Tawaki Project will examine the penguins’ foraging ranges and diving behaviour in the wake of El Niño across their entire breeding range. Read more about this project, which is supported by the Birds New Zealand Research Fund here.

Tue, 12/07/2016 - 13:18

Plastic ingestion by seabirds is an issue of growing concern. As part of her PhD, Lauren Roman from Tasmania, will be visiting New Zealand in September to dissect dead seabirds. If you find fresh seabirds (petrels, shearwaters, mollymawks, storm petrels, prions) please put them in your freezer. For larger birds, it may be possible to freeze just the crop and gizzard.

 Any queries, please get in touch with our Beach Patroll organiser Lloyd Esler or phone 032130404. Nearer the time, Lloyd will arrange for either Lauren to visit you or for the specimens to be freighted to Invercargill.

Thank you for your cooperation in this important research project. 



Fri, 08/07/2016 - 15:50

Several years ago the Society decided that it would be desirable to have guide maps to the easily accessible sites to encourage bird watching. This was to assist people to visit areas outside their local knowledge where they can see and study birds and ultimately provide sightings to the Society’s database.

Over the years Nick Allen from Christchurch has visited sites throughout New Zealand and in conjunction with David Lawrie has produced a series of 6 maps which show 120 sites that people can visit. These maps have been produced on plastic material which ensures that they will not rip or be damaged by showers to encourage use in the field and are easy to carry.

These maps are available from the Miranda Shorebird Centre and can be obtained either by a personal visit or by using their mail order system. Visit

The cost is $11.90 per map or $50 for all 6 maps. Proceeds of these maps will go to the Society's Project Assistance Fund.


Thu, 07/07/2016 - 14:56
The Garden Bird Survey was established by Landcare Research in collaboration with the Ornithological Society and Forest & Bird, to monitor the distribution and population trends of common garden birds in New Zealand. It is a great opportunity to help build a picture of how both native and introduced birds are faring in our gardens over the years!
This year's Garden Bird Survey took place from 25 June to 3 July.
If you have counted but not yet submitted your results, you can still access the online survey form here.          
You can now see the "live" results in a graph of counts for each of the main species, or view a map that reveals where results are coming from - all of which gets updated as counts are submitted!
More details and progress results from previous garden bird surveys can be accessed here
Thank you to those who participated in the survey!


Mon, 04/07/2016 - 13:42
Number of breeding Red-billed Gulls has declined by around one third since 1965!

The June 2016 issue of Birds New Zealand magazine has been published, reporting the results of a new nationwide survey of the Nationally Vulnerable Red-billed Gull, conducted in 2015-16. The survey found that the number of breeding pairs of Red-billed Gulls in New Zealand has declined by around one third over the past 50 years, down from 40,000 breeding pairs in 1965 to 27,000 breeding pairs in 2016.

This issue also reports on the first New Zealand records of sightings of Northern Fulmar, Red-footed Booby and Herald Petrel; a new regional survey of the Black-billed Gull on the South Island West Coast; the 2015 OSNZ National Wader Census; monitoring of breeding colonies of the Endangered Hutton's Shearwater in the Seaward Kaikoura Range; monitoring of breeding petrel species at Katiki Point in North Otago; and monitoring of land birds in East Otago.

Other reports describe a project to protect breeding Black-fronted Terns on the Clarence River; a successful translocation of Chatham Island Albatross chicks; and an update on this year's record breeding season for Kakapo.

It also contains news of the election of Sharon Alderson and Helen Taylor to the Birds New Zealand Council, and the appointment of Dr Leigh Bull as the Society's new Notornis Journal Editor. Regular content includes the quarterly report of the Society's President, David Lawrie, and quarterly reports from the Society's Regional Representatives.


Thu, 30/06/2016 - 14:52

Dr Leigh Bull, a consulting ecologist for Boffa Miskell Ltd, has been appointed as the new editor of the journal Notornis. Leigh has had a long affiliation with Birds New Zealand (OSNZ), first becoming a member while doing her Master’s research on Little Blue Penguin. She has a strong background in seabirds, with over 20 years’ experience conducting avifauna research and surveys in New Zealand, New Caledonia, Tonga and France. Leigh has worked as a practising ecologist and ornithologist for several organisations in a variety of roles, including Species Protection Officer (Biodiversity Recovery Unit, Department of Conservation), Marine Technical Support Officer (Marine Conservation Unit, DOC), and post-doctorate research fellow (Universite Paris). She has a keen interest in applied ecology and has worked with a range of groups, including private industry and government departments, to contribute to a number of documents guiding the conservation and management of New Zealand’s flora and fauna. These projects have included researching and publishing on the efficacy of mitigation measures to reduce seabird bycatch in longline and trawl fisheries. Recently, she published the results of New Zealand’s first comprehensive long-term study investigating avian mortality at an operating wind farm.


Tue, 28/06/2016 - 08:18

The 10th Australasian Shorebird Conference will be held at UNITEC Institute of Technology in Auckland on 1-2 October 2016.

There will be two days of presentations covering a wide range of subjects relating to shorebird biology and ecology in New Zealand and the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Anyone interested in presenting a paper or poster at the conference should contact Phil Battley

This will be followed by field trips to a variety of good shorebird sites around Auckland on Monday 3 October.

For details and registration go to

Sat, 25/06/2016 - 14:37

I am a conservation genetics researcher at the University of Otago and I have been working in bird research for the past seven years.  I'm originally from the UK, but working with birds has taken me all over the world, from helping out with breeding bird surveys in Malta to scaling some pretty tall trees in the Amazon, checking out macaw nests in Peru.  I came over to New Zealand to study for my PhD on inbreeding depression in little spotted kiwi (easily the best looking of the kiwi!) at Victoria University of Wellington.  For the past year and a half, I've been working at the University of Otago, studying the effect of inbreeding on male fertility in a variety of New Zealand bird species, both native and introduced.  You'll normally find me either out in the field analysing bird sperm swimming speeds with my custom designed mobile sperm lab, in the lab at Otago running some genetic samples, or in my office trying to make sense of all the data I've collected.  In my spare time, I like to get out into the beautiful New Zealand countryside, hike up mountains, and spot whatever birds I can while I'm up there.  In a previous life, I was a public relations professional, and I maintain an active interest in science communication, advocacy, and outreach.

Sat, 25/06/2016 - 12:39

I have worked at the Department of Conservation for almost ten years now. Despite a Master’s degree in Biology, I don’t work as a scientist- I’m an Issues Manager in  our Operations team – working with our staff and others to deliver conservation work on the ground through our biodiversity, recreation/historic, community engagement and visitor centre teams.

I have been an enthusiastic amateur birder since a week long stay on Tiritiri Matangi Island sometime early this century. Before that I was an indiscriminate ecology geek, rather than a committed bird-nerd. That week on Tiri led to volunteering on the island, leading guided walks and later Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi committee membership. I also edited the Dawn Chorus newsletter for several issues. Since that didn’t keep me busy enough in my spare time, I also attended the Miranda Field Course one year – and got involved in a bit of cannon netting, wader counting etc. Recently I have been concentrating on supporting young birders, testing activities to see if they are of interest, and in 2015 running the first Youth Field Camp for quite some time. This year I supported a second Youth Field camp and I’m very keen to ensure these continue. I also believe there is great untapped opportunity to develop an interest in birds through the arts as well as science, and hope to do more to provide options for arts engagement with birds.