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Community efforts lead to successful dawn chorus

What could be better than listening to a choir of birdsong as the sun rises?

The Picton Dawn Chorus group have been working hard to make this happen every morning.

The group’s aim is to rid the Picton and Marlborough Sounds area of predators and pests, so that birds can thrive.

Picton dawn Chorus co-ordinator Siobain Browning said the project was driven by the need to preserve native wildlife in the area.

“When we started we discussed whether we should be called ‘Predator-free’ or something focusing on the pests, but we really wanted the community to think about what the outcome is, and that is going to be a better dawn chorus,” she said.

“We’re all going to see more birds in our garden and around town.”

She said volunteers had placed about 400 traps around Victoria Domain in a bid to prevent the re-invasion of pests at wildlife sanctuaries such as Kaipupu Point.

“The aim is to reduce the re-invasion of these pests into Kaipupu, and to provide safe habitat for the birds flying out of Kaipupu and into Picton town,” she said.

“We’ve got a large number of volunteers who come out every weekend and check these traps, and probably about 4000 hours of volunteer time is donated every year to keep the project running.”