A project supported by Ōrākei Local Board designed to bring back native songbirds is proving so popular that residents outside of the project area are taking it up.
The Eastern Bays Songbird Project was set up in 2017 by local bird and ecosystem restoration enthusiasts, many of whom have been working in the area for decades.
The project targets Auckland’s Eastern Bays, covering 1380ha of urban Auckland directly facing the pest-free islands of the Hauraki Gulf. It includes the suburbs of Glendowie, St Heliers, Kohimarama, Mission Bay and Ōrākei.
More than 600 rat traps set
So far more than 600 rat traps have been set on private properties and in local reserves in the project target areas to help control rat numbers.
Project Manager Kerry Lucas says rats are a major problem for our native wildlife eating birds’ eggs and competing for food sources like fruits and seeds.
Ōrākei Local Board Deputy Chair Carmel Claridge says that backyard pest trapping has become quite the rage in the Ōrākei Local Board area.
“The Eastern Songbird project has defined perimeters at present, which in time could extend to cover the entirety of the Local Board area.
“In the meantime, it’s absolutely fabulous that the interest in trapping has already spread well beyond the current geographic limits of the project, with hundreds of households taking up the challenge to help rid their neighbourhood of rats and possums,” she said.
Vision for a pest-free area
Kieran Tibble is a resident outside of the project parameters who has been trapping in Meadowbank and St Johns alongside other locals since 2018 with good results.
Kieran says he has a vision for a pest-free Meadowbank and St Johns and wants to bring back native birds and other wildlife.
“Long term I would love to hear native bird song from my window at any time of the day and for every household to have a trap box and be teaching the next generation about New Zealand’s unique ecology.
“I think many New Zealanders identify with iconic native species and want to conserve and enhance their populations for future generations,” he said.
Another resident outside the project parameters who has taken a lead on trapping is Troy Elliot of the Ellerslie Residents Association. Troy started giving out traps to other residents in February and so far he has been blown away by the enthusiasm for the project.
Carmel Claridge says Ōrākei Local Board has been happy to assist with both funding for the Songbird project and those Residents' Associations outside its boundaries purchasing traps for loan to members.
“The many enthusiastic volunteers who make up the workforce supporting the Songbird project, together with the committed individuals from our Residents' Associations are key to the trapping success that we are seeing.
“It’s heartening to have our local board, council staff and the community working together so well to help rid our environment of destructive pests,” she said.
The next trap handout is happening at the St Heliers School Fair, 31 March, 10am-2pm.
Find out more about the Eastern Songbird Project at their website.