The story behind New Zealand’s birds
Even though it’s hard to believe, the New Zealand that we see from our window today is very different to the New Zealand that was here 1000 years ago. After we separated from the great continent known as Gondwana Land, our wildlife continued to blossom in directions not found anywhere else on earth.
Our birds, descendants of feathered dinosaurs that did not die out in the mass extinction event of 66 million years ago, evolved into species with rather unique character traits. Some of them soared into the sky and took on immense dimensions (such as Haasts eagle and moa), while others foraged on the forest floor like the kākāpō parrot. New Zealand’s birds ruled the land without the presence of other mammals (beside two types of endemic bat) to interfere with their existence.
Why does New Zealand’s fauna need help?
Many of these birds no longer exist due to a plethora of reasons: the movement of time, the loss of habitat (due to colonization), hunting, and the introduction of foreign species. This last has had the single most devastating effect on our native species. Many of the animals that we name “pests” have not evolved in harmony with our ecosystem and therefore drastically affect the balance of life.
Look After the Bugs!
The first step towards forest restoration actually involves our bugs. Did you know that some of our best plant pollinators are flies? We are so lucky in Aotearoa because we have an abundance of insects that play an important role in the success of our birds.
Planting native plants is one of the single easiest things we can do. Our endemic plant species, while evergreen (meaning they don’t change colour or lose their leaves with the seasons), are hugely diverse and many of them support specific species. You can buy native seeds from the Pūkaha Visitor Centre.
Keep Track of your Pet
Pet ownership comes with great responsibility. As cute and fluffy as the family dog or cat is, these animals are born with innate instincts from their ancestor’s time in the wild. Cats should be kept indoors at night while dogs should be walked on a lead and taken to aversion training. Pets can also be neutered if there is a chance that you will not be able to look after their young.
Laying out traps on your property can go a long way towards conservation, especially if you live in a kiwi zone. Our nature themed gift shop has an array of traps suited to trapping different pest species. Feel free to come and peruse some options on your next visit.
Open your Eyes!
Sometimes the most amazing things are in plain sight, you just can’t see them. You can help further your love and knowledge of our country’s flora and fauna by going out into nature, taking part in events at Pūkaha, or by visiting other reserves around Aotearoa.