Bittern are continuing to decline in both distribution nationally and in numbers at some sites. The 7,000 hectare Whangamarino wetland in the Waikato was thought to support approximately 250 birds in the 1980s but over the last two springs less than 15 male birds have been recorded booming. Habitat loss and predation are thought to be the main factors contributing to the decline in numbers.
DU funding has enabled the purchase of essential radio tracking transmitters and also supported Emma to carry out important studies on this shy and secretive bird. DU has helped lead the way with this conservation programme, just like brown teal and blue duck.
DU has also provided significant assistance with the enhancement of wetlands both large (Wairio) and small (numerous farms). DU is able to provide advice and some monetary assistance for members with their wetland projects. Please don’t be shy in approaching Wetland Care NZ which is DUs wetland arm if you are interested. Contact details for William Abel who coordinates this programme are included in this issue of Flight on P15.
It was great to meet many old friends and members at our AGM as it has always been a weekend I really look forward to. I thank you for your support.