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Published: 2009-12-10 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is asking people in Hamilton to keep a particular watch out for tui as Christmas approaches because if they are still in the city they may actually be breeding within the urban area.

“We’ve had seven tui sightings in the last week, including one of a tui singing from the top of a building in central Hamilton,” said Environment Waikato biosecurity officer Ben Paris. “Tui nests are notoriously hard to find so we’re relying on the people of Hamilton to report sightings. If there are a significant number of birds still here we think they may be hatching young in the city this summer.”

The Hamilton Halo project, which began in 2007, aims to bring native birds, starting with tui, back into Hamilton. A key part of the project has been controlling rats and possums which predate on tui eggs and chicks at tui breeding sites in a 20 km radius around Hamilton. The pest control is undertaken before the breeding season begins, to give the fledglings a greater chance at survival.

“Having more tui visiting the city indicates they are coming from the Halo sites to Hamilton for food. If, however, they are sticking around past spring, it indicates they are nesting here.

“So we hope people will let us know if they are still seeing birds here. It may be an indication that the Halo project is having a greater impact than we thought.”

Hamilton councillor Paula Southgate, who has been closely involved with the project, said: “We heard lots of great feedback about the project at the Hamilton East Heritage Festival on Sunday, as well as a few sightings. The people of Hamilton are clearly right behind Hamilton Halo.”

Tui sightings can be reported on the Hamilton Halo web page on or by phoning 0800 800 401. Sighting helps to identify and investigate any patterns that might occur. Information on sightings may be passed on to Landcare Research for research purposes only.