Following THE FLOCK NZ


For us folk in New Zealand this "Year of the Flock"is coming to an end. Many of the migratory birds have already departed on their northern migration.

Our endemic species have completed their breeding seasons. The departed Arctic migrants are being replaced with wrybill and South Island oystercatchers who have themselves moved north for the winter.

As for the Flock of gaily painted wooden birds, well, they are going into hibernation for the winter.
However there has been a last flurry of activity to to mark the departure of  the Arctic migrants.

Locally the Port Waikato Flock made an appearance in their sculpture park. Plans are well underway for this Flock to return next Spring, both bigger and brighter than ever.

A little more distant, on Waiheke Island, the Hauraki Classroom packed their birds away as their small flock of godwits departed. They will also reappear next Spring.

There will be some new Flocks next year as various conservation groups have been gifted some "birds"to get them started.

Painted "birds"have been migrating around the country and appearing in many venues. Most recently many of them came to roost in the grounds of the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre. BRaid Aid sent a few of their wrybill to overwinter with our birds. Altogether there were 1400 "birds"on display, coming from local schools, Pippins and Brownies, Devonport Peninsula schools, members of the Birds New Zealand Youth Camp, Waiheke Is. and a big contingent from the Bay of Plenty.

Maybe some of the contributors can recognise their "birds"in the following images.

Special mention should be made of this small Flock from the East Asian Australasian Flyway Partnership Secretariat in S. Korea

Of course there were also many other birds on duty in school yards in New Zealand, Australia and S.Korea. The later giving the initiative an international dimension. There are strong indications that other countries will be starting their own Flocks for the next migration season.


The speed at which the Flock initiative gathered its own momentum was a great surprise. It was never a hard sell. For the young and not so young the art work was rewarding in itself but was also a way of demonstrating commitment  to the conservation of shorebirds.

That it dovetailed so well with many aspects of the school curriculum was a great help. Learning went alongside the fun activity of painting "birds". We have heard many stories of how students have brought their parents and siblings up to speed on shorebird issues!

The large Flock displays that were to result provided wonderful opportunities to meet the public and talk about shorebirds.


The impact would have been so much less without the financial support provided by the Living Waters Partnership between DOC and Fonterra. So many people would have had less colour in their lives if Resene had not so generously provided free paint to all of the participants.

We were also thrilled to receive validation of the initiative from political figures from both NZ and China very early in the project.

Deserving of the greatest praise however are all of the children of NZ, their teachers and support staff, conservation groups and all of the people behind the scenes who supported them. The time that they willingly committed must run into many thousands of hours. The Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists' Trust would like to thank them for making this initiative such a great success.


This was an awareness campaign and just one of many initiatives, local national and international directed toward the conservation of shorebirds and their habitat. We hope that it has contributed to the general ground swell toward conservation of our natural heritage. If it has helped to move the status of shorebirds to the iconic level of our bush birds then it will have been a job well started.

The title of this post is "The Flock Lives" It is true. Next Spring it will be back and not only in the one place and country where it began.
Author: The Flock
Posted: March 30, 2017, 3:54 am

This mini-flock started its southern migration on 23rd December 2016 from the Republic of South Korea. Flying in a cardboard box, by airplane their journey time would have been much shorter than for real birds. Perhaps they arrived on Xmas day?
Thanks to the people from the Secretariat of the EAAFP for sending their birds to join FLOCK NZ
Some bear some detailed calligraphy, surely messages of goodwill.

These are just some of the species of shorebird that the FLOCK initiative is all about. The bar-tailed godwits and red knots use the mudflats of the S. Korean Peninsula and other parts of the Yellow Sea as re-fuelling stations, before heading north to breed in the Arctic region.The wrybill are internal migrants using the braided rivers of the central South Island of NZ to breed. Water extraction and the invasion of weeds and predators has reduced the amount and quality of habitat for wrybill.


We need to keep the birds coming so that we can enjoy sights like this!(taken at Pukorokoro Miranda on 15th January 2017)
The Korean mini-flock made its first public appearance at Port Waikato on Saturday 21st January https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Waikato
It was a wonderful collaboration of varied organisations and people of all ages.

The day was organised by Karen Opie of Port Waikato Beach Care https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=port%20waikato%20beachcare and supported by DOC,
and BirdsNZ
and "Art at the Port"
"Paint a Bird"was a major feature

 As a result a new Flock "FLOCK PORT WAIKATO" was hatched. The 60+ birds are now on display at the local sculpture park. it was a great collaboration and special thanks go to Tom from the Resthaven Mens' Shed in Cambridge who made many of the birds.
The Pukorokoro Miranda Flock has been busy over the Christmas period under the wing of different folk in different locations:-

Thanks to Joe and Sietze de Jong who took it to the Paeroa AMP show.As always it attracted people who wanted to know what it was all about so got to know about our shorebirds and their problems.

Another wing of the FLOCK is making an appearance at the Miranda Farm Gallery
On March 6th all the FLOCKNZ members will be gathered together for a massive display in the grounds of the Shorebird Centre. It should be quite something. It is around this time our Arctic migrants start on their northern migration. It was also the time this project was thought to finish. However two new Flocks are being incubated right now, so "Watch this Space"

Author: The Flock
Posted: January 22, 2017, 2:58 am

A very happy Christmas from all of the FLOCK folk at Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre.
We were really thrilled with the Xmas message that we made with some of the FLOCK birds.
However the young people of the Port Waikato Beachcare group were way more inventive.
They borrowed some realistic Flock birds to decorate their own unique Xmas tree. Mounted on a float and accompanied by some human oystercatchers it was a prize winner in the Christmas parade.
As a group they are deserving of special mention. Under the wing of Karen Opie they have been caring for nesting shorebirds on this part of the West coast.
New FLOCKS continue to appear like this one from Pukekohe Hill School.
If you are interested in becoming involved it is easy. Just visit www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/theflock .
There are details of how to make birds and the reasons behind the campaign are told in the "Shorebird Stories"

800km east of mainland New Zealand lie the Chatham Islands. Transporting essentials to the Chathams can be expensive. It was wonderful that Hendrik Schultz found a little space among his research gear for the makings of a very distant wing of FLOCKNZ. Below flockmakers from Pitt Island and TeOne School, Chatham Island. Fellow researcher Rebecca is lending a hand cutting out some extra birds after talking about their brown skua research.

Hendrick has been researching Brown Skua for 3 years so another bird species has been added to the FLOCK.
Chatham Island Oystercatcher( photo by Duncan Watson, NZBirdsonline)
Shorebirds on the Chathams face the same threats as those in the rest of NZ. One very special endemic species, the Chatham Island Oystercatcher, fell to a population of just 50. Sustained conservation efforts have helped build the population up to 300.

We are now nearly 9 months into the FLOCK shorebird conservation initiative. It is a good point in time from which to look back. The involvement throughout NZ has been incredible.It is also thrilling to see the international uptake and participation. This blog site records the country of origin of its visitors and this makes interesting reading. These are the countries listed in order of the number of visits to our blog.
NZ, Russia, USA, France, Australia, UK, S. Korea, Ireland, Singapore and Germany.
Of course there are many more countries involved that aren't on this list.
Both Australia
and South Korea
have their own FLOCK. In fact 2 wings in each country. The interest from Russia has been very recent and we would love to hear what's happening up there at the other end of our flyway. Here we are heading into Summer and there they are approaching the shortest day of the year.

We all share the migratory shorebirds. A world without these magnificent creatures is hard to imagine. It is wonderful that so many people do care and want to "keep the birds coming".

Author: The Flock
Posted: December 21, 2016, 2:49 am
The children of NZ make an impressive statement on Windsor Reserve, Devonport Peninsula, Auckland City.
Shorebirds cannot speak for themselves so the young people of of NZ have spoken for them.

2500+ "birds" make an impressive sight on Windsor reserve, Devonport. This is a great opportunity for the "minders of the FLOCK' to talk to the many visitors about the reasons behind the FLOCK, both on the reserve and at  special film showings in the Vic cinema.

Sadly each year fewer migratory birds reach NZ. Our endemic shorebirds face threats too, here, rather than overseas.

The students did speak for the birds with their art as did members of the Devonport community.

At  the opening ceremony on Friday the poetry and prose from the children was very moving.
The Navy quartet came along to add their support.

The passing navy ships added a great back drop to the wonderful birds of the FLOCK.

While this Shorebird Festival in Devonport is primarily an awareness campaign, people have been very generous, donating to "Noddy" and also by painting a bird to either join the FLOCK or take away to enhance  their own garden.

While this is a wonderful event the benefits will only show sometime in the future.
 On present trends some of our shorebirds could become close to  extinction during the lifetime of these young people Optimistically, efforts like this will see their populations recovering..
There has been positive news of a new FLOCK in Hawkes Bay and maybe one in Whangarei too.
Tourists from around the world are visiting Devonport and some see the possibilities of this approach to shorebird conservation. Let's not hold our breath but there seems to be a real conservation groundswell out there.

One thing has become clear. The number of photos taken of the FLOCK is well above the 2500 birds in it. These pictures are going all around the world.
Author: The Flock
Posted: November 23, 2016, 7:58 am

"Not a lot of people know that"

These few words explain just what the FLOCK is trying to change. If it helps more people to know about shorebirds and their problems it is doing its job.
Sonny Whitelaw who is managing "FlockBRaid" tells us that there has been increased community involvement in conservation activities as a result their flock appearances.
The South Island is in all of our thoughts at the moment. For shore nesting birds like the Banded Dotterel at Kaikoura a 2-5m tsunami is devastating. Sonny also reports that the earthquake has totally blocked the Clarence River.
Staying in the South Island, the situation of the southern New Zealand Dotterel has become even more critical.

 (photo Craig McKenzie)
The population recovered from only 11 pairs to 300 individuals but now it is crashing. John Dowding, a leading authority, predicts that the southern NZ Dotterel could be extinct in 3-4 years.


We don't need to go too far back to a bird extinction. 
 This is the last picture taken of the South Island Snipe, in 1964 by Don Merton, the famous bird conservationist.

There is a great deal of positive news. Birds for the Devonport event,(18-28 Nov) are still arriving at the Shorebird Centre. 3 car loads have made it to Devonport already. They will be joined by the huge numbers arriving from local Devonport schools and community groups on Friday at the Windsor Reserve.

One group that won't be making the journey is the Godwit FLOCK from Muan Mongtan Middle School, South Korea. Here is a great, illustrated account from Andreas Kim.

"Migration reversed …

While in March and February the arctic migrants heading north to the Yellow Sea and in September and October coming back to New Zealand, this year “The flock” migrated north in October.
As part of an ECO-class for the 3rd-graders in the Muan Mongtan Middle School the students learned about the close relation we have with birds living on tidal-flats, sharing the habitat and also food. Of course the students also learned about the tremendous journeys the shorebirds undertake every year in our flyway. And so consequently we decided to participate in “The Flock” project.
 Birds in the making
During the class the students, with support of teachers, created their birds. The Mongtan Middle School is located in the south-west corner of the R. O,K and the birds we see and can surely identify as New Zealand-birds from their leg-flags are almost entirely Bar-tailed Godwit and so this was the species we selected for our “Flock”.

The finished birds
Our field-trip on November 13th brought us, students, parents and teachers to Aphae Island, a site that hosts many Bar-tailed Gotwit from New Zealand and also Australia and so we selected a small sandbank that the birds use as roosting area on high tides.

The Flock on the sandbank roost
With “The Flock” roosting at almost high tide and at the exact same place as the birds do when on their migration our little flock made not only the connection to “The Flock” in New Zealand, but also to the birds that will return back to this place in a few months and with it hopefully widens the understanding that all our tidal-flats are so essential for our winged friends.

Students, parents and teachers with “The Flock”
This little flock, and sorry here the migration is not really reversed, will not head south to New Zealand to join the other many birds of “The Flock” but will find a place on the schoolyard." Thanks Andreas! !

In Devonport one thing is very clear. A lot of people there DO KNOW ABOUT SHOREBIRDS. 
This is the shopfront of Bookmarks store.The upcoming Shorebird Festival is now a major discussion topic in the community. The Shorebird Film Festival on Sunday 20th is getting plenty of bookings, you can book online at https://www.thevic.co.nz/movies/12165.php

 In Australia FlockOz has had its first outing at the Adelaide Shorebird Festival. A great reception despite the weather.
Another group is starting up in Broome, W. Australia.

Finally, just in from Wakaaranga School are these photos of their birds who will arrive just in time to join us at Devonport.

Please share your photos and stories so that there will be lots more people who DO KNOW about our amazing shorebirds.

Author: The Flock
Posted: November 14, 2016, 5:44 am
The weather was perfect and the view of the distant Coromandel Peninsula was stunning. The Kaiaua foreshore was just the place for our Labour Weekend FLOCK appearance. Thanks to Louisa who was much involved with planning this event.
It took an hour or so to put the 500+ birds in the ground. Lots of the birds come from local schools as did many of the spectators, along with their mums and dads.

 One small FLOCK had just come from Mangatangi School's Calf Day held the day before..
There were also a few live birds that joined the FLOCK like these red-billed gulls.
The South Island pied oystercatchers were a bit more standoffish.
Luckily we had a couple of scopes along so that visitors could get a good close-up view of the real birds.
A highlight of the occasion was the arrival of a coach load from Auckland, members of the Chinese community with involvement in conservation activities.
Earlier this month a FLOCK of 50 "godwits" was welcomed onto the Piritahi Marae, Waiheke Island. The powhiri was witnessed by some real godwits down on the shore. Trudy Lane, one of the FLOCK team, was there to accept the gift of these "birds" for our FLOCK.
Across the Tasman there is a big event planned, the Shorebird Festival at ST. Kilda on 30th October.
Dave and Mick from Pooraka Farm Mens' Shed produced cut-out birds to be decorated.

This weekend there was a big painting session at the Port Adelaide Information Centre.
Here at Pukorokoro Miranda we have been welcoming back our Arctic migrants from their breeding season.
 Here and down South our endemic birds are busy breeding. Great efforts are underway on the South Island braided rivers to protect against predators.

 Can you find the Wrybill nest among the river pebbles, in this photo from Nick Ledgard?
Predators find it easily. Hedgehogs are a major problem for ground nesting birds, both in the braided rivers and coastal sites.
We have just received this video from young Jamie Tully. Jamie was at Devonport recently when  Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Key and Hon. Maggie Barry, Minister for Conservation, visited. Thanks Jamie.

 This is a good place to give advance notice of 2 events happening in Devonport. All the schools in Devonport are making birds for the FLOCK. Their birds and others will be on display in Windsor Park, Devonport from 18-28 November. It will be a spectacular, in fact majestical, FLOCK appearance.

Also in Devonport on Sunday 20th November there will be a special film show and commentaries from Adrian Riegen and Keith Woodley at the Victoria Theatre. Don't miss out you can book online now www.thevic.co.nz

The FLOCK team would love to see you in Devonport.

Author: The Flock
Posted: October 24, 2016, 3:27 am
A chance to show off the FLOCK to 20,000 people, young folk and family members. Meticulous plans were made, FLOCK team members rose before dawn and drove in cars packed with FLOCK birds. The occasion was Ambury Park Farm Day on Sunday October 2nd, a great happening on the edge of Auckland city.
Unwilling to accept the tyranny of the weather the team battled on and planted the FLOCK in dawns early light. Then the wind strengthened, the rain became horizontal and thunder and lightening threatened.Hardly anyone was there or likely to come. Time to pack up.
Trudy, Wendy,Louisa and Krystal still smiling though after a heroic effort.

It was a busy weekend for the FLOCK elsewhere. In the city itself was the Australasian Shorebird Conference. We scraped together a small FLOCK to welcome them on the AUT campus.
At the Shorebird Centre was another FLOCK to welcome those on Monday on their field trip from the ASC .
Also a new FLOCK member, mascot and money collector AKA "Noddy"

The same busy weekend and yet another small FLOCK appeared at Miranda's Farm Gallery.
The Farm Gallery is promoting the work of Derek Onley who painted the illustrations for the latest Field Guide/Hand Guide to the Birds of NZ.
Back on the North Shore the weather on Sunday 2nd was a little kinder. The Holy Trinity Church in Devonport celebrated St. Francis of Assissi Day. Jim Eagles talked to the congregation about shorebird conservation.

The church group made many new FLOCK members and also donated to the cause. Thanks to Rev. Charmaine Braatvedt and her team for their great contribution.

In the eastern Bay of Plenty a FLOCK of over 200 birds from six schools were being planted in the Ohiwa Dunes.
It looked like a lot of fun! Thanks to Meg and Mike Collins who organised it and sent these photos.
We are thrilled with the latest recruits to the FLOCK campaign. Last Friday at the Devonport Naval Museum our Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. John Key, and the Minister for Conservation, Hon. Maggie Barry, spent some time with members of Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists' Trust.

As you can see they also painted and signed some new FLOCK members.
It is great to have their support and also that of all you folk out there who are making the FLOCKNZ project such a success.
BRaid in the S.I. continue to do remarkable things. Their Flocks have been touching down in a great number of spots. Here are just a few of them. 


Twizel Area School

Author: The Flock
Posted: October 11, 2016, 2:56 am

There's a lot of new stuff to look at! you can find it at http://www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/flock-media
Many thanks to Trudy Lane for loading all these resources onto the Pukorokoro Miranda website.Trudy also designed all of the poster resources, logos and a lot more.
This poster, which you can download and print, tells of the risk level for 15 of our shorebirds. Trudy has left space at the bottom left for you to add your own message.
There is an A5 mini poster for each of the 15 shorebird species with a few facts about each of them.
If you would like to know a little more there are 4 articles (Extinction is forever. Arctic migrants.Endemic species.Stilts) which you can download as PDF's.
You will also find the FLOCK logo and font details you can use for your own FLOCK publicity.

Here in NZ now it is School holiday time but, a while ago, the very first school to join the FLOCK had a surprise. When the students from Kaiaua Primary arrived at school their FLOCK birds and many more had landed on the lawn.

A welcome also to two more schools, Paparimu Primary and Peninsula Primary Te Atatu.

Thanks also to Waikato Regional Council  for posting this photo on their Face Book page.

In this school holiday time we start to use the beaches a bit more. Now is when some birds are starting to nest.

This pair of Variable Oystercatchers have an egg already. They can be very scary and will dive bomb you if you get too close to their nest or their chick.
The NZ Dotterel also nests on the beach. Here the chick is being shaded from the sun.
We humans can cause beach nesting birds big problems. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml32UJxDmiU
This quite beautiful video cartoon from Bird Life International shows how nesting birds react to us.

This weekend, Sunday 2nd October, will be the first really big FLOCK appearance. Many Flock birds will roost at Ambury Park Farm Day, Ambury Regional Park, Mangere Bridge, Auckland. Find out more

Author: The Flock
Posted: September 29, 2016, 1:07 am
The FLOCK is a bit like an iceberg. You can't see how big it is. 90% of the Flock isn't under water but it is under construction! It is hard to imagine just how great it will look when all of our birds are together. Here is a clue:
These 300 birds came to roost in Hamilton Gardens yesterday as part of the Waikato Enviro Schools event.
Krystal Glen, our PMNT educator (pmnteducator@gmail.com), was there to talk about two special birds, the wrybill and the bar-tailed godwit. She brought along binoculars for the students to use.
Hidden among the FLOCK were numbered birds. The trick was first to spy them and then to identify their species.
The "unseen" FLOCK members are being created near and far.Visit  http://issuu.com/devonportflagstaffnewspaper/docs/sept23devonportflagstaff?e=11678115/38970066 
And scroll through the Devonport Flagstaff to pages 42-43 for an article about the Devonport FLOCK. Every school on the Devonport Peninsula, Auckland North Shore, is involved. A big occasion is planned for November, more later.
Not so far away on Waiheke Island, the Hauraki Classroom has opportunities to paint birds at the Waiheke Library. They have developed their very own bird cut-outs. To find out more, and there is a lot more, visit https://www.facebook.com/Hauraki-Classroom-962701903849779/?fref=ts
New schools are joining all the time.Welcome to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust Christchurch who have 5 schools helping them to build a FLOCK. It will roost at the annual Farewell to the Godwits in February and they hope to sell their birds to raise money to fund a permanent flock of giant godwits for New Brighton. A really great idea.
Also down in Christchurch the BRaid Flock has touched down at Christchurch airport and a few other places too! Watch out for them.
There is also news from overseas. FLOCKOz is making lots of cut-outs for schools in Adelaide and along the Samphire Coast. We look forward to seeing their painted birds.

Exciting developments from South Korea too.
A while ago David Lawrie sent a small parcel of cut out birds to Tomoko-Ichikawa of the EAAFP Secretariat in Incheon, S Korea. This group co-ordinates the groups in the flyway that migratory birds use from NZ and Australia, through the Yellow Sea and on to Alaska and Siberia. The folk there were thrilled to get their parcel and enjoying making their FLOCK.

 We also hear from Andreas Kim that an ECO-class in the Muan Mongtan Middle School http://mongtan.ms.jne.kr/user/indexMain.action?siteId=mongtan_ms will be joining FLOCKNZ soon. Andreas says that they would love to hear from some of you.For some of our migratory shorebirds the mudflats of S. Korea are very important re-fuelling stops on their journeys. A very big welcome to Muan-Mongtan Middle School.

 Just to finish here is a banner we have made to explain the situation our shorebirds are in. For the birds in the "Nationally Critical" group the next step is "Extinct". We know that our iconic brown kiwi is in trouble. It is 3 steps away from "Extinct", the same as the red knot on the poster. It is a real worry that so many of our shorebirds are only one step away from "Extinct"
 Thank you for being part of the FLOCK, for helping to spread the message and caring about these special birds.

Author: The Flock
Posted: September 22, 2016, 5:31 am
Conservation Week has seen lots of FLOCK activity throughout the country.

 On 6th September, World Shorebird Day, years 3 and 4 from Te Puke Primary School had a great day at Newdick's Beach. They went with Karen to plant their 76 birds and newly made signs.
Tania Bramley from Maketu Wetland Society was along to help them with identifying the birds. Carolyn from MOW also told them about predator control. It must have been a tiring day as they also helped Chris of Coast Care with some dune planting. Well done Te Puke Primary!

The BRaid Rivers Group had a great FLOCK Launch on 9th September with Rangiora Borough School bringing along their FLOCK.


The party was hosted by Rangiora DOC. Sarah Ensor brought along their giant wrybill to join the party. It was an important event and Waimakariri District Mayor, David Ayers, joined in the fun. Good work Rangiora Borough School.

There have been happenings in the bay of Plenty. Birds of Plenty promote a great variety of bird related activities annually. Meg and Mike Collins of Ohiwa have been busy getting their "Flock A Plenty" organised. Five schools are involved so far, so there will be plenty of birds for their FLOCK launch on 2nd October.

Already their beautiful sign has been erected at the beach.
  A little closer to home Karangahake School, near Thames, had their own FLOCK day. Krystal Glen, the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird educator, was pleased to be invited to talk about the birds and add some of her FLOCK to the display. Super birds Karangahake School.

There is just a little space to tell you about a threatened shorebird that is quite common in the Bay of Plenty over the summer.

 It is the banded dotterel. Most, but not all, of them breed in the South Island and come north for the winter. Some also go to Australia for the winter but they never breed there.
Some of them have just joined THE FLOCK


Twizel Area School has just launched it's own FLOCK. Well done to you.

Also a strange happening, their big FLOCK has split in two. One half landed outside the Waimakariri District Council building just a few hours ago.
and the other suddenly appeared outside the Rangiora Vet Centre. Are these Flash Flocks? Where will they appear next?
Keep up to date with these exciting happenings www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=braided river aid

The next few days are going to be very exciting. If you have something going on with your own FLOCK please let us know and we can share it with everyone.

Author: The Flock
Posted: September 12, 2016, 4:39 am
Each week we are having to up our estimate of the number of birds in THE FLOCK. In fact finding a place to store them all between FLOCK appearances is becoming a bit of a problem.

They have taken over the garage at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre while Keith has been away.
If there is no room for his car when he returns at least we have upgraded him to a Porcshe!(only on the cartoon though).

 A number of new schools have joined THE FLOCK project as a result of a visit from Krystal, our new PM educator. We welcome Dawson Primary, Wakaaranga Primary and St. Joseph's Paeroa. Also Year 3 from Oropi are making a Flock after seeing the amazing birds from Ruru's class.
It's not just the young folk though. A community group from Waiheke Island, known as the Waiheke Classroom, is preparing 50 birds for THE FLOCK.
On the 21st of September at Hamilton Gardens there will be a FLOCK appearance at a one day EnviroSchools event.
A few FLOCK birds  are now in permanent residence at the Pukorokoro Miranda hide.Just look out and down through the window and you will see Ziggy Stardust and his plywood friends.
Down in the South Island the BRaid wing is working wonders. Above are some of their FLOCK birds from
Te Pihinga at Rangiora Borough School.
In just a few days on September 9th BRaid and DOC will be publicly launching their FLOCK with a bit of a party for all those who are involved.
Meanwhile, over in Australia everything is moving at great speed.
The Arctic migrants are returning very shortly to both our countries and we need our Flocks to be there to welcome them back.

Author: The Flock
Posted: September 2, 2016, 1:20 am
It is heartwarming when a big national company says "WE would like to support the FLOCK in its approach to shorebird conservation".
You don't have to look too closely to see that new FLOCK members are getting the benefit of Resene's generosity.
If you are a group making new birds for the FLOCK and would like some paint contact Louisa pmntprojects@miranda-shorebird.org.nz  or (09)232 2781
New groups are continuing to get involved. Just about all Devonport schools are making birds. Waitakaruru School at the bottom of the Firth of Thames has all 100 students fledging birds this term.
In the South Island, Rangiora Borough School is fledging birds too (the photo above shows some of their fantastic creations).
In Ashley Rakiura the grown-ups are also getting involved!
It is an unexpected bonus that fledging birds for the FLOCK helps with the rehab of those suffering from head injuries. Great stuff from Rotorua,

Plans are afoot to show all of these wonderful birds to the world. We will keep you posted with details.

The FLOCK will gather at Kaiaua on Saturday 22nd October, we haven't confirmed the location yet but we will let you know.
All going to plan there will be a massive FLOCK appearance at Windsor Park, Devonport from 11th November.
Our South Island wing, the BRaid River Group has a number of events planned. They are getting great support from both business and local government. Look out for the FLOCK at Christchurch Airport. Follow them on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/braidedriveraid

Their poster tells a little about the birds they are so concerned about.
There is also interest from other parts of the world.
Recently we sent some birds to South Korea for decoration.
Exciting news from the UK, a group in the Wirral is planning it's own FLOCK.
While the FLOCK is not worldwide yet it is interesting to see from how many countries folk are following it's progress through this Blog. At the moment there is interest from NZ, UK, USA, Russia, France, Ireland, Australia, Germany, Spain, South Korea, and the Ukraine. With Alaska and Siberia at the end of the flyway for our Arctic migrants it would be terrific to welcome them into the FLOCK project sometime soon.

A big thanks again to Resene but also to those people who are getting behind the FLOCK. We haven't even reached the halfway point yet so there is plenty of time for new schools and groups to get involved, no matter where in the world you are.
Welcome Te Puke School who are getting on board, looking forward to you photos.

Our world's threatened shorebirds need our help.


Author: The Flock
Posted: August 16, 2016, 7:26 am
Very soon children along the Adelaide coast of Australia will start to make their own "Flock" of shorebirds. It will be called "Flock Oz"
We share some birds with them and Tony Flaherty, the co-ordinator, is adding some species we don't have in NZ. Like this Red-capped Plover (image J J Harrison)
You can see Tony and some of these birds in this video of the Samphire Coast  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WokMcl2yIw

Back in NZ the "FlockNZ" has grown by 83 birds. The school holiday programme at Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre has been a great success due to the efforts of Krystal, Louisa and volunteers, who willingly gave 75 hours of their time.

The "FlockNZ" has also grown in another way. Not birds this time but PREDATORS! They are the reason so many of our shorebirds are in trouble.

(Keith Woodley image of Black Stilt/Kaki)
The BRaid Group have been busy organising their "Flock" to appear in some very exciting places down in the South Island. One, though, is very significant. It is Twizel where, since 1981, great efforts are being made to save the rarest shorebird in the world, the Black Stilt/Kaki. In 1981 there were only 20 birds left! Once they lived all over NZ.

Like the Wrybill the Kaki is not very aware of predators, unlike it's close relative the Pied Stilt who survive much better.
Author: The Flock
Posted: July 25, 2016, 5:51 am
We are just one week into the school holiday programme at Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre.
Each weekday children and their care givers have spent a couple of productive hours learning about our birds.
They have listened to stories of the shorebirds.
They have learned how to use binoculars and why birds carry flags and bands.
They have decorated cut-out birds to add to The Flock.
They have visited the hide and, helped by a band of enthusiastic volunteers, seen the real birds.
As you can see many new birds have joined The Flock. If this continues we will have over 100 new Flock members by the weekend. Numbers aren't everything though but we have passed our original goal of 600. The Flock has now reached four figures.

 As Jacques Cousteau said "People protect what they love". It is heartening to see that young people care.

Just yesterday we got to see the wonderful birds that had come to join The Flock from Ruru class, Oropi School, BOP.
These Wrybill are just a few of their birds. They are amazing. So much colour, creativity and care. Well done Ruru.
Young people can make a big difference. Tomairangi Harvey from Christchurch was just 11years old when she made an animated film about the conservation of the NZ Shore Plover/tuturuatu. Her film was so good that she won the "Best Young Film Maker" award at the Japanese Wildlife Film Festival of 2015.
Watch her film here http://theoutlookforsomeday.net/films/2014/009/
Author: The Flock
Posted: July 17, 2016, 4:08 am
This week Jim Eagles went on a journey to Oropi in the Bay of Plenty. With him went "The Flock" from Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre.
Jim's daughter, Alex Eagles-Tully has been much involved in  the fledging a flock of birds from the Ruru team of Oropi School, to join "The Flock".
The welcoming of the new "Flock" members was a joyous event last week.

The students really enjoyed making these fantastic birds to join"The Flock" but more importantly they were thrilled to learn about them.

Many of these young enthusiasts will be coming along to Pukorokoro Miranda with their parents and siblings this school holidays to see the birds for real.
Thank you class Ruru at Oropi School for learning about and caring for our shorebirds, the birds you made to join "the Flock" are incredible.
Author: The Flock
Posted: July 9, 2016, 7:36 am
It all started with one Pukorokoro Miranda member and then it just snowballed. A short time ago Sietske de Jong, a Brownie leader heard about "The Flock"at the PM Shorebird Centre. She took the message to her Pippins and Brownies in Paeroa and they joined in.

They brought the beautiful birds they had fledged to the Shorebird Centre to join "The Flock".

The Pippins and Brownies also brought their brothers and sisters, their parents and their grandparents along as well. They all heard about the shorebirds and then they went down to the hide to see them for real. It is wonderful to have the new Flock members but even better that so many more people now know about our birds.YOU HAVE TO KNOW TO CARE and if you care about something you want to protect it.
This is Betty, another person who cares.She told the guys in the Mens' Shed in her retirement village, Resthaven Cambridge, all about "The Flock". Tom said "we can do that, we can make some shorebirds"

He wanted to know more about them so he and his wife took a trip up to the Shorebird Centre and he returned to Cambridge a supporter. Now he is known as "The Bird Man" Thank you Tom and the guys at the Resthaven Mens' Shed for caring about the birds.
This is a wrybill, people in the BRaid River Group down in the South Island do care too.
They need more people to know because this unique bird, with it's right turned bill is NATIONALLY VULNERABLE.
Wrybill were going along nicely in NZ until people arrived with their pest animals and plants. Before that their only predators were other birds who hunted by sight. Nesting wrybill have almost perfect camouflage.
Can you find this one? Thank you Steve Atwood and the Ashley Rakahuri Rivercare Group for the photo. Another group of folk who care https://www.facebook.com/ashleyrivercare/
Wrybill aren't used to feral cats and other predators who hunt at night using smell.Sadly many wrybill are killed on their nests and their eggs and chicks are eaten.

The Braid group do care.They would like help so they started their own wing of The Flock. It is growing which is good news for wrybills and all the other birds in the braided rivers of Canterbury.
 YOU can help by fledging a bird for The Flock. There is a great opportunity at Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre during the school holidays. Find out more.http://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2016/school-holiday-fun/auckland

The first holiday week 11-15 July the tides are good to see our shorebirds. 2,000 Wrybill in flight is a breath-taking and unforgettable experience. https://www.facebook.com/MirandaShorebirdCentre/videos/1138855132794853/ 
Author: The Flock
Posted: July 2, 2016, 5:41 am
"Following the Flock" has just had a letter from Dai inWales, UK.
Dai lived at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre in January and February. He was a volunteer shorebird guide and he showed lots of visitors our shorebirds and told them about their lives and the threats they face.
He saw the Flock when it was very small and he has been following it's growth on the newsletter.  http://us13.campaign-archive2.com/?u=00755df772c73d2efa5941750&id=62b649cb15&e=a9f3c7a112
Dai does a lot of bird stuff in Wales. There are wonderful islands like Skomer and Skokholm Islands.
The birds there are mostly seabirds like this puffin.
However young people there love their birds just like you love our shorebirds.
Dai wanted you to see some of the decorated birds made by the pupils of the Coastlands school at St. Ishmaels, Pembrokeshire.

Can you guess which one is a puffin? There are some great ideas here but wait until you see what Oropi School has been up to. Find out about how to join The Flock www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/theflock

Author: The Flock
Posted: June 21, 2016, 4:41 am
It's a long way from Pukorokoro Miranda to Napier but The Flock had a very good reason to visit.
Over Queen's Birthday weekend many "birders" gathered from all over New Zealand to take part in BirdsNZ annual conference.

We were able to tell them of The Flock Project and the great progress it had made. The talk went well and now birders throughout NZ know about The Flock.

The Flock made a great show when it appeared on the Napier foreshore early one morning.

One of the characters in The Flock is Godwin Kuaka Godwit. This is probably a good time to explain how he got his name.
Every year Forest and Bird holds a competition to choose the "Bird of the Year" Last year competition was fierce. "Go Godwit!" a supporter typed but it came out as "Go Godwin!" That is how he got his name, Godwit won and is "Bird of the Year 2015-16" Godwin wears a crown and he is almost as handsome as real godwits.
On The Flocks way home Godwin decided to visit Pukaha Mount Bruce. Lots of conservation work for bush birds like kokako and kiwi happens here.

Godwin Kuaka Godwit, as a shorebird ambassador, was really pleased to meet Manukura, the white kiwi, he is a very important bush bird and even has his own Facebook page.https://www.facebook.com/ManukuraWhiteKiwi/
 Godwin Kuaka Godwit and The Flock will soon be back at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre helping to "Keep the Birds Coming".www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/theflocknz  
They had a great road trip but were very sorry to miss the Pippin Brownies from Paeroa who brought their own very special birds to join The Flock yesterday.

Author: The Flock
Posted: June 13, 2016, 12:20 am
Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust’s (MBCT’s )‘Boomer Boys’ have made 96 birds (that’s 24 bar-tailed godwits, 24 wrybills, 24 South Island pied oystercatchers, and 24 red knots) in the Trust’s Boomer Businesses, a community shed for men and women aged over 50.
Boomer Boy Jack with the cutouts.

And the MBCT's Alzheimer’s group has primed them, making them ready for painting and decorating.
Getting the birds primed for decoration.

Pukorokoro Miranda is planning to invite students from Manukau schools to decorate them - and take the time to learn about the amazing shorebirds on their doorstep.

Anita Curlett, project manager at MBCT, told us a bit about why they are helping out with The Flock: "With our theme being ‘Water for Life’, Southern Seabirds Solutions and Forest and Bird partnered with us at Eye on Nature to share their message why Seabirds are important. We feel that The Flock continues on with our concept this year and is a hugely important environmental issue to support."

The Alzheimer's group are "loving and getting right into this new project" according to Anita.
"Sometimes this is all it takes, for these men and women, to feel useful and needed in their local community."

Auckland’s harbours are important habitats for shorebirds. They congregate on the Manukau harbour from Waiuku, Karaka, up through to Ambury Park and to heavily populated north shores of the Manukau. Ambury Regional Park is a great spot in Auckland for getting a good look at godwits, wrybills, red knots and even spoonbills!

MBCT does a huge amount of work to keep Auckland beautiful. It recently organised a clean up of Manukau's Puhinui Stream, setting the New Zealand record for the largest number of volunteers – 1900 – at an environmental clean-up! Wow!

A big thanks to the Boomer Boys, the Alzheimer's group and MBCT for contributing to The Flock!
Author: Sarah Vaughan
Posted: June 9, 2016, 9:58 am

So much has happened. It is difficult to know where to start.

The Pippin Brownies from Paeroa finished their birds. There are just a few Pippins so they each made 2 birds.

The "Boomer Boys" of the Manukau Beautification Charitable Trust are busy cutting out "birds". A big smile here from Jack. Their Alzheimer's Group will be priming them for the local schools
Pukorokoro Miranda now has a new Flock Team member. Krystal Glen is our Educator and will be visiting schools which are within travelling distance of the Shorebird Centre. If your school would like Krystal to visit please contact her pmnteducator@gmail.com
Nearly all  the Wrybill in the world can be found at Pukorokoro Miranda or the Manukau Harbour. They breed in the braided rivers of the South Island. We wouldn't have so many if it weren't for the amazing efforts of the Braider rivers Group in mid-Canterbury.

http://braid.org.nz/the-flock/ We are thrilled that they have started their own wing or The Flock NZ. It took flight on Tuesday with enthusiastic support. Looking forward to progress reports.

There are two new non-bird additions to The Flock. These are the predators responsible for so much damage to our endemic shorebirds.
Have a great holiday weekend. The PM Flock is also on holiday. It is visiting the BirdsNZ Conference in Napier.www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/theflock    #theflocknz

Author: The Flock
Posted: June 2, 2016, 9:50 pm
Jim Eagles visited the very busy Mangatangi School last week. The school photographer was also visiting so it was all set up for this image of happy, smiling students holding their contributions to "The Flock".
They all look fantastic. A lot of thoughtful design and careful execution is on display here.

 Since smiles are to the fore, a trip back in time to another Flock occasion is worthwhile:- The visit of the Chinese Delegation.

This is the cover for the next Pukorokoro Miranda News, due very shortly. As you can see even grown ups get a big kick out of contributing to "The "Flock"

Author: The Flock
Posted: May 22, 2016, 11:49 pm

School holidays is usually the time for an extra hour in bed. Not for the young birders at the BirdsNZ Youth Camp held at Pukorokoro Miranda. They were often up before dawn.
Pleasingly they did find time to add some new birds to the flock.

 Being young birders a whole lot of new species were added.
Somehow even a kokako found it's way into the gathering of shorebirds.

It was great to see the enthusiasm for this conservation project. There are some amazing pieces of artwork amongst the new additions.
The Pukorokoro Miranda FLOCK has 110 members, many more birds are being created in other places.

Author: The Flock
Posted: April 28, 2016, 4:53 am

There are just so many ways to decorate a bird, here are a few.
The top bird is realistic, permanent marker pens on shower board.
The rest are more inventive. However YOU can write a message, knit a rugby jersey, make a mosaic or even paint a flag. The purple "hippiebird" has painted flowers outlined with marker pen and "Santa" has lots of gold stars and tinsel.
There are some amazing birds on the way to join The Flock and they are all going to help to "Keep the Birds Coming"
Author: The Flock
Posted: April 17, 2016, 4:56 am

 There were happy children and busy hands when Jim Eagles visited Kaiaua School last week. Painting "the Flock" birds is a great fit with the school's teaching programme. Really looking forward to visiting to see the finished birds.

 Meanwhile down in Nelson another flock is fledging, the first in the South Island. Rochelle downloaded the plans from www.miranda-shorebird.org.nz/theflock , then persuaded some friends to make the cut-outs. These are the first two finished birds. Love the eyes! A roosting site is being sought.

 Of course many of the real birds are now in the Yellow Sea region. At the end of the week a small group from Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists' Trust will travel to North Korea, following the birds. We hope that they will manage to keep in touch and tell us of their findings.
Author: The Flock
Posted: April 11, 2016, 4:48 am
Image result for The Flock southport
Great ideas migrate, just like birds do! This one started its journey on Ainslie Beach, Southport, Lancashire in the United Kingdom. Six hundred gaily decorated bird models were assembled on the beach as part of an environmental celebration. It was the work of many people of all ages and attracted a great deal of attention. As you can see it was a very colourful and attractive art installation.
 The first FLOCK had come into being.

At Pukorokoro-Miranda Shorebird Centre (PMSC) we thought "Hmmn, this is great, we could give this a kiwi twist and help to promote the cause of shorebirds in NZ." So we began to create our FLOCK

There was a real need. Those migratory birds that leave us to breed in the Arctic have been suffering. Each year fewer birds reach the shores of NZ from their Arctic breeding grounds. To make it even more urgent we had just learned the extent of this population decline. Each year the Bar-tailed Godwit, the NZ Bird of the Year, was losing 2% of its population. For other species the decline was much worse. The long term prospects were very worrying,
More people needed to know about this. These amazing birds needed a lot of help. How can you protect and care about something if you don't know about it?
The Flock Project is PMSC's way of getting the message across in a fun but caring way.We need to keep these birds coming. Come and join us, wherever in NZ or the world you live. Paint or decorate a bird. Each one painted shows that one more person is concerned.

We will be blogging about THE FLOCK for another year. In fact until they leave our shores for their breeding grounds via the Yellow Sea. Over that year we want to tell you about these birds, their amazing abilities and the problems that they are facing. We won't be forgetting our own shorebirds either.

Many of these are facing challenges of a different nature. There are so many interesting stories to tell. We would particularly want o hear from all of you folk out there. Building THE FLOCK is becoming a real adventure. We don't know where it will end but do no that it will be, in fact is, a real success. But we have hardly started.
This is where we were on the 14th of February this year.We had this very small flock but PMSC was convinced that this project was going to work. So we started.
Just over a month later THE FLOCK had grown a bit. Lots of important people turned up. They signed and decorated birds and THE FLOCK grew some more.

At this moment there are schools and individuals busy making and decorating birds. Many are around Miranda but there are others in the Bay of Plenty,Devonport and even in Christchurch. It could even be whole new South Island FLOCK!

Many people are involved, Children, teachers and grown ups as well. We want to tell all of their stories.

THE FLOCK is taking wing. Come fly with us. It is going to be quite a journey! 

Author: The Flock
Posted: April 7, 2016, 6:07 am