Thursday, 1 December 2011

Kamikaze cuckoos and other birds

There has been some discussion on the NZ birding website recently on the subject of shining cuckoos being especially prone to hitting windows. There have been good numbers of cuckoos here this spring with several around the house. Sure enough one hit the windows a week or so ago and landed on the deck where it sat dazed. I placed it in a bird box in the hot water cupboard as it was cold and windy outside. After an hour or so it had perked up and when taken outside it flew off with no obvious damage. Cuckoos are strong fliers and travel rapidly through forest cover so no doubt have little time to react if a sunny gap in the foliage suddenly turns into a sheet of double glazing! A young swallow also hit a window but after a brief rest it flew off. It was one of a family that feeds around the house and seems to have recovered fully.
Shining Cuckoo
I am still waiting to hear more about the Helm's Butterfly Judi and I saw on the 20th but at the Waikato Biodiversity Forum earlier this week in Coromandel no-one was able to shed much light on their distribution and rarity. I will put any information that I receive on a future blog. (Following photo is by George Gibbs in 'Nature Guide to the New Zealand Forest' by John Dawson and Rob Lucas)
Helm's Butterfly 
An initial analysis of 80 five minute bird counts I have completed across the estate in the past two months shows that numbers of several indigenous forest birds are up on the past two years. This is particularly so for Fantail, Tomtit, Cuckoo and Kereru. Tui and bellbird may also have increased. There appears to be an increase in several exotic species such as Rosella and Blackbird. My feeling is that the survey results are reflecting a genuine increase in bird numbers. The present health of the forest with abundant fruiting will hopefully result in a good breeding season and a further increase in numbers.
Bruno and Barbara saw two Kaka over their house last week.
I will leave information on Judi's new plant finds until my next blog when summer may have arrived!

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