Friday, 11 April 2014

New Zealand Birds

In a country without any native mammals, birds are an important part of the ecosystem.Take for example the endangered kiwi - NZ's national icon and unofficial national emblem. Efforts to save this unique bird in the Auckland region have seen their release in the Tawharanui Regional Park, NZ's first open sanctuary. The nickname 'Kiwis' was first applied to NZers during the First World War by Australian soldiers.

Other native birds such as tui and the slow breeding kākāpō are also an important part of what makes NZ unique. Our coastlines are rich with a vast array of sea birds - in fact NZ has the largest diversity of seabirds on its shores and islands than any other country in the world. Gannets fight for space in places like Muriwai and Hawke's Bay, whilst dotterels like to dart around in a most comical fashion along the mudflats and estuaries in places like Muriwai.

Although not native to NZ, chickens have had a long history in NZ, with the first chickens being brought over by Captain Cook in 1773 and later on by missionaries in the early 19th century. Back in the day, most NZers kept chickens for their eggs. Now egg production is mostly on a commercial scale and the industry is growing each year. NZ hens produce a whopping  83 million dozen eggs!

Keen to find out more about NZ birds? Auckland Libraries has a wide range of resources available in its heritage collections including the well known publication 'A history of the birds of New Zealand' by Walter Buller (1873).

Take a flight through the selection of bird images below, which are drawn from the heritage collections at Auckland Libraries. Like the flightless kiwi and the kākāpō, this will have to be a 'virtual flight'!.

Native birds:

Ref: James D Richardson, Kiwi at Auckland Zoo, Western Springs, 1923, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-2488
Ref: James D Richardson, Kiwi at the Auckland Museum, the Domain, 1937-39, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, 4-4904
Ref: VE Donald, Kakapo, George Sound, 1923, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19230531-46-7
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, a young Tui, location unknown, 1937, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19370224-48-4
Sea birds:

Ref: JT Diamond, Diamond family children watching a cormorant on a rock, Piha, 1953, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, JTD-04E-00031-1
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Nesting time for sea birds, various NZ locations, 1940, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19401030-32-1
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, Gannets at Cape Kidnappers, Hawke's Bay, 1913, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries, AWNS-19131023-41-1
Ref: Auckland Weekly News, NZ sea birds, various locations, 1941, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Libraries AWNS-19410924-33-2
Domestic birds:

Ref: Photographer unknown, Poultry farming in orchard, Henderson, 1913, West Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, JTD-14G-03509
Ref: Photographer unknown, Poultry farm, Takanini, 1994, photograph reproduced by permission of Fairfax Media, South Auckland Research Centre, Auckland Libraries, Footprints 03424

2 comments:

  1. One of Auckland's early-ish poultry people was Sophia Taylor, who lived at Alberton - the Mt Albert residence now owned by the Historic Places Trust. She was quite successful in showing them, too. There's a biography of Sophia in the biographies section of teara.govt.nz .

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  2. Thanks for your comment Claire - interesting to hear about one of early people involved with poultry.

    On a chicken themed note, you may be interested in this post about the Colonel Saunders recipe book which was found in 2011: http://heritageetal.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/colonel-sanders-autobiographycookbook.html

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