Kaka Counts - Great Barrier Island numbers are important
by Liz Westbrooke


Suzi Phillips is in touch with about 150 people who report Kaka as soon as they appear in their area.  She started in 2007, concentrating on Rodney, then Auckland, then South Auckland/Franklin.  In 2008 she added the Coromandel Peninsula with many people from as far south as Huntly and Tauranga reporting observations. Suzi recently reported back on her September 7th 2008 kaka counts:

Summary of Kaka Survey on 7th September 2008

By comparison, here are the Great Barrier figures recorded on the same day (for a breakdown by location on Great Barrier, see the December 2008 Environmental News):

Great Barrier Kaka Survey on 7th September 2008

Number of Data Sheets = 40

Maximum number counted = 136 (assumes all counts by different observers, both morning and evening, were different birds).

Minimum number based on location = 61 (assumes that all birds in any one location were all the same birds, so the maximum count by any one observer is taken as the minimum for the location)

Maximum number = 117 (uses the maximum flock count over the last few weeks reported).

 

These results demonstrate the importance of Great Barrier as the main location for kaka. Even in winter (September 7), when we believe many GBI kaka might be over on the mainland, our counts suggest that we had between 61 and 136 birds present, probably nearer the larger value. In contrast, even when possibly augmented by GBI birds, the mainland count, from sites ranging from Rodney to the Waikato, recorded only 77 birds on the same day and only 145 over prior weeks. Of course the results are not strictly comparable, but they do give an indication. We will be working with Suzi to continue this program and firm-up the counting system. Suzi is in touch with about 150 people who report Kaka as soon as they appear in their area.  She started in 2007, concentrating on Rodney, then Auckland, then South Auckland/Franklin.  In 2008 she added the Coromandel Peninsula with many people from as far south as Huntly and Tauranga reporting observations.

If you are interested in joining in, see www.kakawatchnz.org and email your Kaka sightings to Suzi at kakawatchnz@gmail.com giving location, time of day, number of birds, etc and especially information on tree species where they are perched or feeding.

The Trust has just carried out another kaka count in conjunction with Suzi on June 27th.