The tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) is one of New Zealand’s most beautiful birds, and its impressive repertoire of guttural clicks and notes announces its presence in many Dunedin neighbourhoods. Just having a tui visit your garden in Dunedin is a unique privilege, and being able to watch their boisterous behaviour and enjoy the iridescence of their dark plumage is a real joy. Many people who have established gardens in the city have created unique feeding opportunities by planting native trees like the kowhai (Sophora microphylla) in their gardens and their neighbourhood. The linkage of urban housing to reserves like the Town Belt and the wider city environs by native vegetation provides important opportunities for bird life in Dunedin. That life is part of the richness of biodiversity that we have in the city, but it must be nurtured. Dunedin property owners should be encouraged to grow trees around their homes and gardens that help to sustain the bird life throughout the city.
The recent launching of the “Project Gold” initiative by the Department of Conservation encourages people throughout Otago to grow kowhai from seed in their district. This is a great initiative that could have a significant impact on both the protection of kowhai but also improve opportunities for our native birds. The Amenities Society greatly encourage the people of Dunedin to grow trees that will feed and support our native bird population so that future generations will experience the joy that birds like the tui bring to our backyards.