Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2010

Silver-eye, wax-eye or white-eye

Zosterops lateralis, the little silver-eye, is not so numerous in the Wairarapa as it is up north where huge flocks congregate in the winter and descend upon berry producing trees and shrubs in their hoards. Hurrying from tree to tree, from one garden to another, with a continuous, noisy twitter, or uttering short plaintive notes, they set about distributing seeds, mindless as to what is is they are casting about, and with no concern at all as to whether the seeds are native or obnoxious. Poroporo keeps on sprouting in my garden here, undoubtedly spread by silver-eyes.

Now that the house sparrow numbers are very much in decline, the silver-eye is probably New Zealand's most numerous bird, far out numbering the more obvious starlings which tend to get the blame for the silver-eyes' crimes against orchardists. Silver-eyes have a particular fondness for fruit. They happily eat their way through a wide range of fruits, including apples, kiwi fruit, feijoas, figs, grapes, pears and…

The Persecution of rooks in New Zealand

On the local radio throughout this spring, Greater Wellington Regional Council was once again asking people to report on rookeries in the area. This pursuit of rooks brings into question Regional Council's pest strategies especially in relation to birds.
Rooks are a minor agricultural pest, certainly no worse than say yellowhammers, so why is one being pursued and not the other? It would seem that one of requirements of the Biosecurity Act is that pest control must be cost effective, so the yellowhammer is too numerous and widespread to eradicate but the rook is apparently a viable target for eradication. Both birds were introduced from Europe in the 19th century, as bio-control agents. These birds are not a threat to native or endemic species.
In perusing the voluminous amount of data on Regional Council pest strategies on line, I have managed to glean that over a period of twenty years 2002-2022 at a cost of $60,000 a year it is proposed to eradicate the rook. Part of that budget…