As many as 85 people braved four winter nights in June, to conduct the first ever regional Kiwi population count. The survey covered an area from Moehau down to the Maretoto valley.
The survey is essentially based on listening for the distinctive Kiwi calls as they become active during the night. Over three training events, volunteers first had to learn how to operate the 45 listening sites, while automatic acoustic recorders were stationed at an additional nine locations.
Katharina Hecht, Project Coordinator of the survey, has been thrilled to watch passion for the project grow as volunteers stepped up to take part. “Participation in the survey has created something of a buzz throughout the region. After some initial hesitation to commit to four nights in a row, the feedback from the volunteers has been altogether fabulous. Many knew or had heard rumours about the presence of Kiwi, and now we can start to put survey data to these reports.”
The important feature of this survey is the coordination and overall scale of the survey, providing an accurate baseline of the Kiwi population in the region. The Coromandel is already known to be a place dense with both kiwi and those who wish to help kiwi thrive.
Predator Free Hauraki Coromandel Community Trust (PFHCCT) Chief Executive, Jude Hooson says, “Undertaking this standard of monitoring on an ongoing basis will provide us with a greater ability to track our collective impact over time, evolve our programme where necessary and attract greater funding support.”
On a very local note, three small groups in the Tairua area took up the challenge to listen for the kiwi calls over four nights, two of their number being teenagers. They selected three sites under the umbrella of the Tairua Environment group. The sites had to be away from the sound of the sea, the cars and normal house sounds and all sites were checked out to ensure they were appropriate. Two sites heard nothing but for one site, it was a busy time listening finally recording the call of seven different kiwis – four males and three females.
Teams in the Kuaotunu and Otama areas were organised by Paula Williams. This Kiwi Call survey is an inaugural one and will be repeated over the next two years.
Pictured: Image forwarded by the Kiwi Call Project.