Vote for Bird of the Year 2021

It’s that time of the year again, when we all get the opportunity to vote for our favourite New Zealand Bird of the Year.  Whether you’re a purist who insists that only birds qualify, or one of these new radicals championing a *gasp* mammal (the pekapeka-tou-roa or long-tailed bat), there’s a bird to suit everyone’s tastes.  From cheeky kākā, to those chonky kererū or the tiny tītīpounamu with their bumblebee sized hatchlings, New Zealand birds are fascinating and sadly, all too many of them are at risk of disappearing altogether.

If you’re not sure what birds you might like to vote for, we’re here to help, with plenty of books about the birds of New Zealand, whether you’re backyard bird watcher, a recreational twitcher or a serious ornithologist, we’ve got something for you.  Here are a selection of titles:

A naturalist’s guide to the birds of New Zealand / Thomas, Oscar

“This photographic identification guide to 239 bird species in New Zealand, including the most commonly seen, unique and endemic species, is perfect for resident and visitor alike. High-quality photographs from one of New Zealand’s youngest nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers climate, vegetation, biogeography and the key sites for viewing the listed species. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the birds of New Zealand encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, IUCN status.” (Catalogue)

The brilliance of birds : a New Zealand birdventure / Wishart, Skye

“Who knew that the morepork, our forest-dwelling owl, can turn its head 270 degrees? Or that the eastern bar-tailed godwit triples its body weight before undertaking an epic and continuous migration of 11,000 kilometres? Or that the tūī has two voiceboxes – enabling it to duet with itself – one producing sounds too high-frequency for humans to hear?” (Catalogue)

 

Birdstories : a history of the birds of New Zealand / Norman, Geoff

“Norman covers a range of our bird families and individual species, and provides an up-to-date picture of how these birds are regarded by both Māori and Pākehā, the backstory of their discovery, and their current conservation status. Extensively illustrated with historic illustrations and contemporary artwork, this is a beautiful, comprehensive publication that will help New Zealanders realise what a taonga we have in our birds.” (Catalogue)

 

The hunters : the precarious lives of New Zealand’s birds of prey / Stewart, Debbie.

“The majestic New Zealand falcon in flight looks like a sleek killing machine – but it is one of the most endangered and misunderstood birds in our nation today. This landmark book presents all of our amazing birds of prey, from the cute ruru (or morepork) we hear calling in the night, to the hawks that hover over roadkill on our highways. Stunning photographs show the lives of these birds in intimate close-ups, and the stories make a case for their continuing protection as a vital part of our fragile ecosystem.” (Catalogue)

The field guide to the birds of New Zealand / Heather, B. D.

“The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand is the modern classic of the genre – the tried and trusted reference for lovers of New Zealand birds. Comprehensive, reliable and easy to use, this revised edition features: 374 species, including 11 new additions – the book’s biggest revision since first publication ; 85 stunning colour paintings of New Zealand birds, including rare and recently extinct species ; an introduction to key bird-watching sites ; distribution maps and an in-depth guide to field identification ; an additional handbook section that includes information on the distribution, habitat, population, conservation, breeding, behaviour and feeding habits of each species. The only field guide to New Zealand birds officially endorsed by the Ornithological Society of New Zealand, this is the most authoritative reference available – a wonderful celebration of our extraordinary and diverse birdlife.” (Catalogue)

Buller’s birds of New Zealand : the complete work of JG Keulemans / Keulemans, J. G.

“Presents the full set of artworks created by JG Keulemans for “A history of the birds of New Zealand” by Walter Buller.” (Catalogue)

 

Land of birds : an illustrated tribute to the birds of New Zealand / Meyer-Westfeld, Niels

“Land of Birds is a stunning new book of New Zealand bird illustrations. Using the structure of a naturalist’s journal, Niels Meyer-Westfeld has created a very personal and sensitive tribute to this country’s remarkable birdlife. The heart of the book is his beautifully detailed illustrations of birds, covering all of our best-loved wetland, sea and forest species. The main illustrations are supported by beautifully rendered sketches and working drawings. Accompanying the illustrations is text from the author, which provides information about the species, and anecdotes about the process of creating his artwork. His text is also an impassioned call for a greater awareness of the wider threats that so much of our endangered birdlife faces in New Zealand. Land of Birds will appeal to anyone with a passion for New Zealand’s flora and fauna, particularly birds, as well as those with an interest in illustration and art.” (Catalogue)

Native birds of New Zealand / Hallett, David

“Native Birds of New Zealand is a photographic book of New Zealand native birds that will appeal to the casual bird-watcher as well as the ornithologist. Many books in the past have been aimed at the serious ornithologist, with illustrations designed to show distinct feather patterns but not to create an image that is also pleasing to the eye. The photographs in this book have been taken by David Hallett, one of New Zealand’s leading wildlife photographers, who captures the beauty of New Zealand’s native birds in their natural environment, from the subtropical north to the Sub-Antarctic Islands, and from the oceans to the alpine meadows of the Southern Alps. The text is kept short and avoids the in-depth academic material found in some of the very good reference books on the market. It does include all the interesting facts that set our native birds apart, presented in a short, concise format that makes the book ideal for browsing. With the advent of digital photography, many more birders are now equipping themselves with cameras as well as binoculars when they go into the field, creating an increasing awareness of wildlife photography. This trend, combined with the affection New Zealanders have for their native birds, makes Native Birds of New Zealand a book that will have widespread appeal.” (Catalogue)

Birds of New Zealand : a photographic guide / Scofield, R. Paul

“[An] introduction to the identification and behaviour of this country’s extraordinary avian life. From the Kermadecs to Campbell Island, from beloved endemics to passing vagrants, from albatrosses and shearwaters to kiwi and kākā, the book ranges widely. Key features include: expert and up-to-date information on the 345 bird species found in New Zealand ; almost 1000 new photographs illustrating key identification characteristics and variation by age and sex ; authoritative text covering identification, behaviour, distribution and taxonomy ; Māori, English and scientific names.” (Catalogue)

Shorebirds of New Zealand : sharing the margins / Woodley, Keith

“Shorebirds of New Zealand is a beautiful, informative and lyrical account of the many shorebirds found here – those living and breeding in the same area year after year, those that migrate within New Zealand, and those whose migrations link the hemispheres. It examines the lifecycles, habits and histories of our shorebirds, such as red knots (some 50,000 of which reach New Zealand from Siberia annually), or red-necked stints (birds the size of a sparrow that make a similar journey), and our own shorebirds – stilts and oystercatchers, terns and gulls, dotterels and wrybills, snipes and godwits. Author Keith Woodley connects these shorebirds with everyday people and the environment, looking into our social and cultural values, the work of researchers and community conservation groups, as well as the ways in which our lives impact those of shorebirds – both harmoniously and harmfully. Shorebirds of New Zealand is a significant and thought-provoking book, with many stories to tell and a strong environmental message elegantly stated. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Birds of New Zealand / Suisted, Rob

“New Zealand boasts exceptional species of birds; a quarter of the birdlife lives nowhere else on the planet. With the concerted focus on bird recovery, through sanctuaries, the Department of Conservation and volunteer groups, native birds are abundant, and those struggling species are continually growing in population. Rob Suisted has captured these beautiful birds in remarkable, vibrant photographs, with individual portraits and habitat shots. The four main habitats – forest, wetlands, sea and coast, and open country are introduced by Alison Dench’s thoroughly researched text. Extended captions accompany each photograph. This attractive, colourful book is a wonderful expression of New Zealand’s most interesting birdlife.” (Catalogue)

NZ Garden Bird Survey 26 June- 4 July

The New Zealand Garden Bird Survey is happening between 26 June to 4 July.

Would you like to join the rest of New Zealand and make a difference to the environment, while having fun spending 1 hour in your backyard watching birds?

Healthy bird populations can indicate that the environment is healthy. And you can help Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research understand what’s happening in the populations of all the birds around us, in city and garden environments, by counting birds in your backyard.

The best thing about this national event, is that you can also win a pair of Nikon Prostaff binoculars or a nature escape to Wellington.

You can find more details on the Garden Bird Survey website, and use the tally sheet to record your unique findings. The information is also available in Te Reo Māori.  And don’t forget to  join the exciting competition! There are also some cool children’s activities.

Get ready for this event and make use of the library books as helpful guides to help you locate the birds. Also find helpful resources from the citizen science collection blog.

A photographic guide to birds of New Zealand / Moon, Geoff
“A comprehensive guide to birds that includes species accounts which have been updated according to the 4th edition of the Ornithological Society’s official Checklist of the Birds of New Zealand. It features photographs of the most commonly seen birds along with detailed information on distribution, habitat, behaviour and breeding.” (Catalogue)

 

How to watch a bird / Braunias, Steve
“As prize-winning journalist Steve Braunias stands on an apartment balcony on a sultry summer evening, a black-backed gull flies so close he is instantaneously bowled over with happiness: ‘I thought: Birds, everywhere. I wanted to know more about them. ‘This book is the result – a wondrous personal journey into the amazing world of birds, and the people ensnared, captivated and entranced by them: the passionate tribe of bird-watchers and twitchers.” (Catalogue)

 

Birds of New Zealand / Fitter, Julian
“An authoritative new photographic guide to the birdlife of New Zealand. this beautiful photographic guide is the ideal companion for travelling birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike. Featuring over 300 species of bird most likely to be seen in New Zealand, it is the only guide that anyone travelling to this fascinating region of the world will need. * Illustrated with over 600 full-colour photographs and featuring detailed species descriptions and distribution maps * Key information on national parks helps readers to find the best spots to discover each bird” (Adapted from the catalogue)

 

Shorebirds / Arkins, Alina
“Introduces common shore birds of New Zealand giving information about breeding, feeding, habitat, conservation and migration. Suggested level: primary, intermediate, junior secondary.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Beautiful birds of New Zealand / Ballance, Alison
“This book describes 100 birds, which covers all the NZ birds that you are most likely to see, including some rare and endangered birds. For each bird there is one page of accessibly written and highly informative text with one large photograph facing it.” (Catalogue)

 

 

Attracting birds and other wildlife to your garden in New Zealand / Ell, Gordon
“Birds in the New Zealand Garden was originally published in 1981 (and went on to reprint 11 times). In this highly practical new hardback book, which includes beautiful bird and nature photography by Geoff Moon and others, enticing birds, lizards, butterflies and other animals into your backyard is made simpler than ever, regardless of the size or style of your garden. Tricks ranging from building a bird table or a nest box to raising froglets or establishing a nature pond  tables listing ideal native and introduced shrubs and trees to provide food and shelter for birds, butterflies, bees and more.” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Bird words : New Zealand writers on birds
“New Zealand birds have inspired mythology, song, whimsical stories, detailed observation, humour and poetry. From the kakapo, kokako and kaka to the sparrow, starling and seagull, both native and imported birds have been immortalised in print. This is a varied and stimulating selection from the flocks of New Zealand writers who have given our birds a voice. They have brought extinct birds back to life and even enabled the kiwi to take flight on the page.”–Publisher information.” (Adapted from the Catalogue)

Whio : saving New Zealand’s blue duck / Young, David
“The blue duck, or whio, is one of New Zealand’s ancient treasures, a beautiful torrent duck that once lived on clear, fast-flowing rivers throughout most of the country. Sadly, this is no longer the case. The blue duck belongs to the not so well known ‘second tier’ of endangered species (including kaka, kea, parakeets and North Island brown kiwi) whose numbers have dropped alarmingly in the last 15 years. Whio tells the story of how a dedicated group of scientists, field workers and volunteers have set about saving the blue duck. ” (Adapted from the catalogue)

A naturalist’s guide to the birds of New Zealand / Thomas, Oscar
“This photographic identification guide to 239 bird species in New Zealand, including the most commonly seen, unique and endemic species, is perfect for resident and visitor alike. High-quality photographs from one of New Zealand’s youngest nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers climate, vegetation, biogeography and the key sites for viewing the listed species. ” (Adapted from the catalogue)

Forest and ocean : bird songs. / Melbourne, Hirini “Hirini Melbourne was a tireless advocate of Maori language and culture and led by example. On this album are a selection of his songs in Te Reo, performed by the composer together with simple, intimate guitar accompaniment. Recordings of forest and ocean bird calls are sensitively woven into the recording. These songs are suitable for childrens’ choirs, too… A truly enjoyable album and an excellent resource for primary schools in particular.” (SOUNZ)

1-2-3 bird! / Gunson, Dave
“Racing birds, splashing birds, safari birds and party birds … Be a bird spotter! A fun counting book”. This book is available in both Maori and English.  (Adapted from the catalogue)

 

 

The cuckoo and the warbler : a true New Zealand story / Warne, Kennedy
“The Cuckoo and the Warbler tells the story of one of the most remarkable wildlife relationships in New Zealand, between pipiwharauroa, the shining cuckoo, and riroriro, the grey warbler. It is a story of tragedy, trickery and faithful care – and it plays out each spring and summer in the forests of Aotearoa. Although rarely seen by humans, the interaction of these two native birds is a striking example of nature’s inventiveness.” (Catalogue)

The indigo bird / Taylor, Helen J.
“Fantail is looking for Takahe, but where can he be? Is he playing with Weka in the snow or splashing in the puddles with Pukeko? Perhaps he’s hiding in plain sight! Suggested level: junior.” (Catalogue)

 

 

New legends of Aoteaora : New Zealand birds / Swadling, Irene
“A collection of six stories told in a traditional style about New Zealand birds and their environment. Suggestd level: junior, primary.” (Catalogue)

 

 

In the garden : explore & discover the New Zealand backyard / Candler, Gillian
“In the Garden introduces young children to common creatures they can find in a New Zealand garden. It is the only guide available for young children and families that shows creatures in their natural habitats, with sections on bees, wasps, butterflies, snails, lizards, and birds.  In the Garden is a finalist in the non-fiction section of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. ” (Adapted from the catalogue)

One lonely kākāpō : a New Zealand counting book / Morris, Sandra
“Introduces the numbers from one to ten alongside a variety of native New Zealand birds, reptiles and sea life.” (Catalogue)

 

 

 

12 huia birds = 12 manu huia / Stokoe, Julian
“12 beautiful huia birds play and sing in the forest. But is that a canoe arriving? A rat sniffling? A ship on the horizon? One by one, the huia start to disappear what will remain? 12 Huia Birds is a captivating celebration of one of our loveliest birds. Through gentle rhyme and colourful imagery it subtly conveys an environmental message and includes links to a 12 Huia Birds app, educational resources and games. This book has both English and Maori versions. ” (Adpated from the catalogue)

Join the City Nature Challenge!

Wellington is teeming with wildlife, from mountains to the sea. Celebrate it with the City Nature Challenge!

Started in 2016, the City Nature Challenge has two parts: the first is observational, with participants setting out into the wilds–and back gardens–of Wellington to document as many plants and animals as they can via the iNaturalist app. Part two begins directly afterwards, and is based around identification.

Keen to be involved? It’s easy: just download the iNaturalist app and join the Wellington City Nature Challenge group! Part one begins on 30 April and runs until 3 May. And if you need help with the iNaturalist app, you can visit our drop-in session at Wadestown Library on Saturday, 1 May.

Several librarians have been kind enough to put together blogs about their own City Nature Challenge experiences. Check out Leif Hōne’s excellent blog below!


Leif Hōne

Kia ora e hoa mā!!

Joining me today is the iNaturalist app which brings about awareness of the Council’s Nature in the City programme. This programme is desgined to draw in rangatahi and interested parties, in identifying and documenting the city’s wildlife so that we can use this data captured to better understand the challenges being faced and how we can meet those challenges. It’s all about your part that you’ll play by participating.

Before embarking on this challenge, I want to predict what I think I will see out there in the wilds haha. I live near Tui and other birds, so I am guessing I will be able to spot a lot of harakeke bushes (flax), perfect for doing raranga – if they’re big enough, and if Hineiwaiwa allows.

I also think I will see lots of introduced species of tree and shrub that may overtake our native collections. This is unfortunately a common reality across Aotearoa, but I am hoping my prediction for the area I’m located in will be wrong. I will need to climb Mt. Ahumairangi and scope it out! Lesh go!

Get out there yourselves and enjoy identifying native and non-native species of plant life, and having fun! Learning is ka pai.


Related Resources

Wildlife of New Zealand / Suisted, Rob
“Wildlife of New Zealand includes not merely the flagship species but a unique assembly of fascinating plants and animals that have evolved amid habitats ranging from alpine peaks, open scrub and subtropical forest to wetlands, rocky or sandy shores and the open Pacific. Well researched and informative captions from Matt Turner make this not only a stunning photographic collection, but also a very useful reference.” (Catalogue)

Māori and the environment : kaitiaki
“The New Zealand environment has been allowed to deteriorate, but it is not too late to undo the damage. This book advocates the adoption of the kaupapa of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) to preserve what is left and to restore the lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and foreshore of New Zealand.” (Catalogue)

Wild encounters : a Forest & Bird guide to discovering New Zealand’s unique wildlife.
“Wild Encounters is your complete guide to more than twenty of the best nature experiences New Zealand has to offer. Each entry contains maps, travel details and what to see and do, all accompanied by beautiful photographs.” (Catalogue)