The campaign bringing the plight of native birds to our streets

New Zealand's native bird population is coming under increasing attack following this year's mega mast, as more predators roam our forests.

It's hoped a new poster campaign will help raise awareness of just how much damage is being done, so we can stay on track to become predator-free by 2050.

The posters all feature an endangered native bird like the toutouwai, tui, and piwakawaka - shredded, and gnawed by predators.

"Seeing these cards and what damage was done to them... and just imagine those same animals getting up into the trees and taking the eggs and chicks," says Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell, of what he hopes the public takes in.

This year has been New Zealand's biggest mast year in 40 years, trees and plants producing record high amounts of seeds or fruit. More seeds mean more birds - and more rats and mice.

"They eat all that food, their populations explode, so do the stoats that eat them, then eventually they run out of the seed and the fruit and they turn on the native birds," explains Hackwell.

Forest & Bird says the average New Zealander never sees the impact introduced predators have on the country's native birds.

"A conservative estimate is 26 million eggs, chicks and birds are killed every year. 72,000 a day it averages out," says Hackwell.

The numbers are beyond comprehension - so the poster campaign is making it visual.

One of the posters.
One of the posters. Photo credit: Newshub.

Advertising agency Colenso BBDO hung corflute posters filled with peanut butter and baited with bird pheromones in a number of different native bush areas near Auckland, and waited for the predators to come.

"The idea they were going for the smell of the birds, I think was really quite significant, and quite chilling," Hackwell says.

The remains were covered in bite marks. Some of the posters were many metres above the ground.

"And we could identify which species were doing it, and in this case it was in forests around Auckland and it was the rats, which we weren't surprised at," says Hackwell.

It's a stark visual reminder on New Zealand streets of what's happening in our forests.

 

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