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Fewer silvereyes in gardens this winter

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/07/2016

Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis), a small bird growing to 12 cm © Auscape/Universal Images Group/Getty Images Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis), a small bird growing to 12 cm The mild winter so far means fewer silvereye birds are being spotted in residential gardens than ever before.

"It doesn't mean that silvereye numbers are lower overall, just that they are lower in our gardens at present," says Eric Spurr, organiser of the New Zealand Garden Bird Survey.

The winter is mild, meaning birds are not forced into gardens in towns and cities at lower altitudes in search of food like they are when conditions are harsher, Mr Spurr says.

The survey ends on Sunday and so far about 1500 people have reported what birds they've seen in their garden.

Results are coming in from all over New Zealand, including one from the Chatham Islands.

Preliminary analysis of the results from the first 700 gardens entered online show that the top 10 most numerous species are similar to last year, except the song thrush has come in and the greenfinch has dropped out, Mr Spurr said.

The house sparrow is top again, as it has been every year since the survey started 10 years ago, and the silvereye remains second, despite the low number counted this year.

More than 37,000 birds have been counted and 84 different species, so far.

The NZ Garden Bird Survey is supported by Forest & Bird, Birds NZ, Topflite, Nature Watch, CORE Education and the Department of Conservation.

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