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(BNN) — Kererū across the country are calling on birds big and small to count the humans around them.

Whether you enjoy their many different outfits, their noisy vehicles or watching them pay a lot of money to fly — humans are an intriguing species to monitor.

Associate Professor Doug Berryfruit, a kererū at the University of Large Fruit, says this is the first year the annual flock science project has taken place.

“The Great Human Count is about all birds working together to gain a better understanding of humans so we can stop them destroying our planet. Whether you see any humans or not, sharing observations is helping us get a better picture of where humans live, how many there are, and how we can call avoid their destructive behaviours.”

Humans are recent arrivals to Aotearoa/New Zealand after being self-introduced around 1,000 years ago. Since arriving, they have removed large tracts of kererū habitat, introduced mammalian predators such as rats, stoats and possums, and caused several species to go extinct.

Anthony Crop of Human Discovery, who coordinates the annual Human Count, says the best spots to see humans at this time of year is in early evening when they migrate to their nests from work.

“Humans will be flocking to their dinners of sausages and mash, with gravy and whatever greens they can forage from their local supermarket. You may also see them congregating around televisions at this time of year to fight over which human should be their leader.”

In urban areas, birds are encouraged to sit on powerlines or perch in trees to look for humans.

“Over the weekend, keep a look out at cafés and local sports-grounds where adult humans may be socialising their young.”

The Great Human Count runs from the 18th – 27th of September.

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