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  • 13/08/2015

Operation Duck Pond is signing up more volunteers, following a “very good response” from game bird hunters to a fresh appeal for pond observers.

op duck pondThe ‘citizen science’ project was launched last year, a term that refers to non-scientists helping in scientific work such as birds counts.

Volunteers are being asked keep watch on local ponds and record a few simple observations – including the number and type of birds.

Fish & Game initially recruited 19 active participants but at least 50 ponds are needed to provide enough data to evaluate what habitat features make an ideal breeding pond.

Coordinator Nathan Burkepile says an appeal which went out to licenceholders in July via email drew replies from more than 60 people.

“We were pretty happy to hear from so many, a lot more than we were expecting, and we are still getting some responses in.”

Mr Burkepile says that in projects such as this some people typically drop out so they’re “continuing to look for more volunteers to sign up.”

The project doesn’t call for a major time commitment – participants are asked to do only four simple surveys, so volunteers don’t have to set aside many hours.

Duck counts are conducted during the peak of waterfowl breeding to provide Fish & Game with the best possible data to determine as accurately as possible, waterfowl use of the ponds.

Mr Burkepile says anyone keen to help with the collection of data and prepared to monitor a pond, will find that it’s a fun and fulfilling project – and one that that will help New Zealand’s waterfowl and other native water-dependant birds.

"We are keen to hear from a wide range of people, including youngsters. Youngsters may need to line up support from mum and dad, a friend or relation."

Phone Nathan Burkepile at Northland 09 - 438 4135 or Mob 021-222-7920.

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