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Bird Study At CUE Haven

January 31, 2019

Our vision is for CUE Haven to be used for enjoyment and environmental education, and over the years several students have done studies and field work on the restored property.

Accordingly, we were delighted when scientist Dr. Josie Galbraith contacted us about the possibility of a couple of PhD students coming out to CUE Haven to do some research on birds.

This time of year, a lot of native plants are flowering and a variety of birds are visiting them for nectar. Additionally, the 165,000 native trees at CUE Haven provide habitat for native and introduced New Zealand birds.

Tui on Flax

The research team included Dr. Josie Galbraith, Auckland War Memorial Museum – Project Curator, Natural Sciences, PhD candidate Daria Erastova, the University of Auckland, and Marion Donald, PhD candidate from Rice University in the US who is in NZ as a research scholar at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.  Also ecologist Ruby Moore from Auckland Museum came out to assist for the two days.

From left to right: Daria Erastova, Marion Donald, Josie Galbraith, and Ruby Moore

The team set up fine nets by the wetlands near the cottage to harmlessly catch the birds and monitored them regularly.

Over the two days they were on site, the team saw a high diversity of bird species. This was exciting news, as the bird list included a strong showing of New Zealand natives, specifically silvereye, tui, kingfisher, and fantail. The introduced species that joined this list were the chaffinch, greenfinch, sparrow, dunnock (which has a similar appearance to the sparrow), myna, blackbird, song thrush, blackbird, and warbler. Additionally, the team enjoyed the sounds of the native morepork after dark. All together the team detected 14 bird species at CUE Haven!

Daria with a Greenfinch





Juvenile Grey Warbler

Josie Galbraith Releasing a Tui

As part of an ongoing effort contributing to New Zealand’s ornithological records, the team—led by Daria Erastova and Dr. Josie Galbraith—banded the birds and recorded morphological data.

The research scientists completed two successful days at CUE Haven. In addition to the field work, they took some time to relax and catch up on academic reading too!!

We really enjoyed meeting the team and watching them at work.  We wish them all the best with their research and careers. And look forward to having them back to CUE Haven for a follow up study and other research in the near future.










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