I'm Hungry For The Big Apple - Bell-Bird - Southland


Gore, New Zealand

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Artist's Description

Bellbirds are unique to New Zealand, occurring on the three main islands, many offshore islands and also the Auckland Islands. When Europeans arrived in New Zealand, bellbirds were common throughout the North and South Islands. Their numbers declined sharply during the 1860s in the North Island and 1880s in the South Island, about the time that ship rats and stoats arrived. For a time it was thought they might vanish from the mainland. Their numbers recovered somewhat from about 1940 onwards, but they are almost completely absent on the mainland north of Hamilton, and are still rare in parts of Wellington, Wairarapa and much of inland Canterbury and Otago. Just as people from different parts of New Zealand can have noticeable regional accents (think of the Southlander’s rolling ‘r’), bellbirds also sing with regional ‘dialects’. Bellbird songs vary enormously from one place to another, even over short distances. For example, a study in Christchurch found that birds in three patches of bush on the Port Hills all had different songs. There is also anecdotal evidence that male and female bellbirds sing different songs, at least during some parts of the year. The song of juveniles is not fully developed straight away so an expert can distinguish their songs from adult songs. The red eye on this individual indicates that it is male. During the breeding season his plumage becomes a darker olive green.
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35 Southland New Zealand
Much of the research I have done on these beautiful birds say that the are shy, often heard and not seen. I am fortunate to have them feed on the apples I put out for the Silver-eyes, I captured this young man on video. During the winter months they find the apple far too tempting when food is scarce in the wild. Take a minute to enjoy this small clip…

I’m Hungry For The Big Apple – Bell-bird

<img alt=“Greeting Card: Bellbird” class=“greeting-card”

Emerald City! – Bellbird

Natural Pollen Highlights! – Bellbird

Featured 7th Sep. 2011

Artwork Comments

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