It’s a common opinion that Kereru, the New Zealand native wood pigeon, are pretty neat. Their survival is much more crucial than you’d guess from a glance. A resident Kereru left behind a gift in the form of droppings, which were collected and added to seed raising mix with the following outcome:
As you can see a multitude of seedlings have sprouted, among them a high proportion of New Zealand natives. The excrement provides an excellent fertiliser for seeds that have passed through the gut to grow with a strong head-start.
The extinction of birds such as the Huia and Piopio means Kereru are the very last of the native birds with a wide gape, large enough to swallow (and thus disperse) seeds of Karaka, Taraire, Puriri and Tawa, among others. Some of these seeds require passage through a bird’s gut in order to germinate properly, if at all. If Kereru were to become extinct, we would also see a massive decline in the natural regeneration of such tree species that rely on these birds.
There are reports of increasing Kereru populations, including flock sizes of up to 21 individuals in the Whakaupoko area. They are also becoming increasingly common in the Ness Valley area, and at the Hunua/Paparimu boundary.
Kereru pair for life, so if you see one look closely in the surrounding area and see if you can find it’s mate!