Why New Zealand Is Obsessed with Its Native Birds

New Zealand has an internationally unusual focus and dedication to its winged creatures, Tess McClure writes in a story published by The Guardian. That love has shaped its national identity and conservation agenda and launched an enormous country-wide campaign to wipe out animals that threaten the avian population.

“You know what you know,” says Andrew Digby, a science adviser at the Department of Conservation – and what New Zealand knows is birds. The country is one of only a handful of places around the world that have no native terrestrial mammals.

“It’s a massive part of our identity, right?” says Damian Christie, a New Zealand broadcaster who now runs a neighbourhood trapping group. “The birds were here before any of us. The birds are such a part of our folklore, of Māori mythology – and then there’s that call. You can’t ignore that call in the morning.”

For millions of New Zealanders, the day begins with the birds: either outside the window or over the radio, where every morning the national broadcaster heralds its AM news bulletins with a native birdcall, McClure writes.

Original article by Tess McClure, The Guardian, May 26, 2023.

Tags: birds  Guardian (The)  

  • Peter Le Gros - 10:43 pm on June 23rd, 2023
    I remember the sounds of the Tui's getting the nectar from our flax flowers in the morning and the fantails flitting around in the tea trees out the back, I do miss the the native bush and all the birds. Lucky we don't have possums destroying our vegetable garden, only the pigeons
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