Bird’s the word: Aotea's 2023 Bird Count Wants You!

Last Updated : 08 Nov 2023
Aotea Bird Count
John Ogden & Student Grace MacMahon counting in 2022

Bird enthusiasts on Aotea / Great Barrier are wanted for the next Aotea Bird Count, set to take place in December 2023.

The count has been going since 2019 and is organised by the Aotea Great Barrier Environmental Trust, Auckland Council, DOC and the on-island sanctuaries Motu Kaikoura, Glenfern and Windy Hill.

It provides important details about the number of kākā, kererū, tūī and kakariki, key species in Aotea forests and good indicators of rat numbers on the island.

The last count showed kākā and tūī were widely observed across Aotea, while there was a possible decline in kererū.

Tracking species

Hannah Smith, AGBET co-ordinator, says that the count is incredibly important in tracking species and observing trends across time in relation to bird numbers on the island.

“As a community on Aoeta, we need to be able to make informed decisions on how best to protect the bird population on the island.
“But it takes a concerted effort to do so, and the volunteers are key. We need around 55 volunteers for this year’s count.

“Full training is given, and volunteers will be placed with counters who have done it before to make sure the data is recorded correctly. It’s a lovely early summer morning walk and a great way to get involved in biodiversity conservation on the island.

“So please take a moment to sign up to volunteer for this most important piece of work and help us protect our birds into the future.”

Community working together

Aotea / Great Barrier Local Board provides funding for the Trust, and chair Izzy Fordham says that the count is a great example of the community working together for the benefit of the island.

“We’ve seen how valuable the bird data is for the island,” says Izzy.

“It’s a great opportunity to help us to be able to measure the bird population and work together with other like-minded community members who see real value in the count.

“I hope once again we see our community rise to the challenge and come out to count the birds!”

Volunteers for the count need to commit to the training (or refresher session) held at the end of November and the date of the count - morning of Friday 1st December.

They also need to be available for the backup days of Saturday/Sunday just in case the first date is postponed because of weather.

If you are interested in being a volunteer, email

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