Before humans arrived in New Zealand the bush rang with bird song, in particular with tui and korimako (bellbird). Cook wrote of the korimako song; “it seemed to be like small bells most exquisitely tuned”.
Now however, the numbers of birds have dwindled dramatically and 33% are already extinct. Some disappeared as the forests were cut down, others though were hunted to extinction, either by humans ( the moa) or by introduced pests such as rats, dogs, cats, stoats, hedgehogs and possums just to name a few.
Even in ecological reserves where birds, in particular remaining flightless species are protected by predator fences, there are still issues. Take Zealandia in Wellington where they still struggle to keep female korimako alive due to their tendency to stray out of the fenced area and then potter about on the ground much to the joy of cats.
The other day during a walk around the ecological trail at Tawharanui Regional Park I took this wee video (in vertical format, felt like breaking out of the box!) as the place is full of korimako, tui and kereru (wood pigeon). Was such a wonderful sound and let’s hope one we never lose.