Ian McLean: With pressure on the NZ environment, are birds the proverbial canary in the coal mine?

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Ian McLean: With pressure on the NZ environment, are birds the proverbial canary in the coal mine?

Not Yet - however we must be very proactive in taking care of nature and well as our unique NZ birdlife. Yes, we have had some growth in numbers, especially lately with Tui and Kereru increasing, however Wax Eye numbers in cities have fallen including a large fall of the Redbill gull. Meanwhile, introduced Doves are proliferating.

We only had 55 minutes to cover such a vast subject as there are many varying species in NZ. Having the largest number of different sea birds on earth - around our shores.

The number of introduced birds into NZ are many, including vagrants and migrants and the total number comes up to 435 different species. A vagrant is a bird that unexpectedly shows up – like the Laughing Gull that breeds on the prairies of the mid Western states of North America. Last year found in Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty.

  • NZ is the seabird capital of the world. 1/3 of seabird species on earth, visit or breed in our region
  • NZ albatross numbers are the highest on earth
  • NZ fairy tern now with only 40 in existence
  • 51 NZ birds have gone extinct over time

Some Aotearoan birds may have become extinct due to disease from an introduced bird species.

Yet, we have not had an extinction of an endemic bird since 1970 - of the Bush Wren

Kakapo flightless parrot numbers are 154 after dropping to about 45.

The Chatham Island Black Robin went down to a total of 5 birds and yet it recovered with adept human management - now 250 - though - problems with diversity due to a small DNA base.

Little spotted kiwi – (only about 1900 birds now) where once there could have been millions.

There are 5 species on Kiwi plus various subspecies

That wild ducks can fly over 1000 kilometres and more.

This is good information - too much to list here so I encourage you to listen to this interesting interview as to what’s happening in NZ, what birds are increasing and decreasing - about offshore island sanctuaries, what pests are having to be dealt with and other ways about getting New Zealanders to become far more interested and involved.

Especially in how birds and their morning sound welcome the new day, and assist us with insect control, scattering seed and pollinating flowers.

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'