Signs the elusive tūī may slowly be returning to Canterbury

Sightings of the elusive tūī in Canterbury may be on the rise, with the population of the native bird growing faster in the region than any garden bird counted in New Zealand in a decade.

According to the State of New Zealand Garden Birds 2019 survey, the country's longest-running citizen science project, overall numbers of the boisterous bird were still “very low”, but sightings seemed to be increasing.

The latest results, from 2019, showed increases in fantail, kererū, tūī, and possibly bellbirds.

Environmentalist George Hobson, 16, said the growth was “encouraging”, but things weren't looking so positive for some introduced species, including thrush, goldfinch, starling and dunnock.

George was passionate about ruffling feathers in the world of conservation, and credits being home-schooled to giving him enough spare time to pursue a love for birdlife.

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