New Zealanders are being urged to keep their eyes on the skies – for native wood pigeons.

The Great Kereru Count takes off today, and runs until the first of October.

It’s being run by WWF and Victoria University, with the aim of building a comprehensive picture of where wood pigeons are, and aren’t, found.

WWF chief Livia Esterhazy said the nationwide project is being used to help protect the species.

“They are not considered, at the moment, an endangered species – so there’s no formal counting of them. They are an incredibly important species to the regeneration of our native forests.”

Ms Esterhazy said Kereru play a crucial role in forest ecosystems, and are “an important part of New Zealand.”

“They’re called the gardeners of the skies cause they’re the only ones that can actually digest the largest fruit of our big native trees like the matai and the tawa,” she said.


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