Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Garden bird survey


The garden bird survey is a citizen science project established to monitor the population trends of common garden birds in New Zealand. It attempts to answer the question, “Are garden bird populations increasing, decreasing, or remaining stable?”

New Zealand has a number of rare native bird species that are declining in number, but we do not know the population trends of our more common native or introduced birds. We hope that the annual garden bird survey will act as an early-warning system if currently common native species start declining. Several currently common native species occur in our gardens, including fantail (shown above), tui, bellbird, silvereye, grey warbler, and kereru (native pigeon). Measuring the population trends of these species is an enormous task, which is why we need your help.

Results 2014

Silvereye pair snuggling up. Image - N. SeckerThe main results from the 2014 garden bird survey:

  • Silvereye – the lowest count on record, perhaps a result of mild weather in early winter, meaning birds did not come into gardens in search of food as much as they would when conditions are harsher
  • House sparrow – again by far the most numerous species counted, though the count was slightly lower than last year’s
  • Blackbird and song thrush – like silvereye, the lowest counts on record, continuing the decline in their numbers since counts began in 2007
  • Most species – no evidence of increase or decline in numbers counted over the 8 years of the survey, though numbers counted have fluctuated from year to year
More »





  • Spurr EB 2012. New Zealand garden bird survey - analysis of the first four years. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 36(3): 287-299.
  • Spurr E 2008. New Zealand garden bird survey 2007. Notornis 55: 52.
  • Spurr E 2008. Zealand garden bird survey July 2007. Southern bird 35: 9.
  • Spurr E 2007. New Zealand garden bird survey 2006. Notornis 54: 246.
All Publications

Subscribe to Garden Bird Survey Alert

via email