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Improving habitat .. Kate Pond in the Tiromoana Bush. PHOTO: DAVID NORTON

Native birds, including rare species, are becoming more common in Tiromoana Bush.

Recent monitoring reveals increased sightings of tauhou/silvereye (up 104 percent), and piwakawaka/fantail (up 52%).

Numbers growing . . . A piwakawaka in Tiromoana Bush. Photo: Nathn Trethowen

Also, there has been sightings of species rarely seen at Tiromoana Bush, such as pipiwharauroa/shining cuckoo (up 72%) and ngirungiru/tomtit (up 1014%).

The nationally at-risk puweto/spotless crake and koitareke/marsh crake were also detected at the Kate Pond wetlands for the first time.

It is the second round of bird monitoring in the bush, a 407-hectare regenerating native forest northeast of Amberley.

It is owned by Transwaste Canterbury, which owns the adjacent landfill in Kate Valley. It funds the restoration project, pest control and monitoring.

Transwaste chairman Gill Cox says bird monitoring is important to understand whether the regenerating native bush and predator controls are providing a suitable habitat for native birds and fauna.

“Our vision for Tiromoana Bush was to enable native flora and fauna to thrive in a regenerating native forest.

“It’s very exciting to learn the restoration project is working and native birds, particularly rare species, such as the tomtit and spotless crake, are making their home in Tiromoana Bush.”

Bird monitoring to determine which species are present in the bush and in what numbers began when the restoration project started in 2005.

Dr David Norton, a professor from the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry who wrote the bush restoration management plan in 2004, says the steady increase in native bird diversity in the bush is an encouraging sign. “It’s gratifying to see previously rare native species such as tomtit, kereru, and shining cuckoo become more abundant in Tiromoana Bush.”

However, there has been a decline in observed korimako/bellbird (down 24%) and exotic species such as finches (down more than 50%).

Professor Norton says some species are more vulnerable to predators and it might take longer for numbers to recover.