Eighteen species were observed at Okareka in both 2014 and 2015. These were:
- Eastern Rosella
- House Sparrow
- Grey Warbler
- Red-billed gull
- Song Thrush
Goldfinch and black-backed gull were observed only in 2014. Australasian harrier, welcome swallow and Californian quail were observed only in 2015. House sparrow and silvereye had, respectively, the largest and second largest number of birds recorded in any one garden in both years. Blackbird and tui were seen in at least 80% of the gardens surveyed in both years. Kereru were seen in between 60% and 70% of the gardens in both years, with nine birds being seen in one garden in 2015. In contrast, Kereru numbers have been very low in the Forest and Bird 5-minute bird count survey in Tikitapu Scenic Reserve.
Other species seen in at least 60% of gardens in both years were bellbird, house sparrow and silvereye. Fantails were seen in 80% of the gardens in 2014, but only in 46% of the gardens in 2015.
UPDATE ABOUT GARDEN BIRD OBSERVATIONS AROUND LAKE OKAREKA
Since the Garden Bird Survey around Lake Okareka properties was carried out by locals back in June 2015, many people have commented about the increasing numbers of California quails observed in the settlement area, over this spring and summer. Some local people attended a Predator Free NZ Workshop that was held in Rotorua towards the end of 2015, where this same observation was reported.
The response from the organisers and some participants was that if you are seeing more California quails in your local area that generally means that you have less predators such as rats and mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets). Quail are ground dwelling birds, so to be successful breeders there needs to be less predators. So these birds are another success story for all of those involved with pest animal control around Lake Okareka.