New Zealand Robins — Everyone’s Favourite Little Forest Friends!
As this year’s campaign managers for the New Zealand robin, they are using art to share the toutouwai’s story. Together, in different styles, they have created special artworks to support their campaign and get followers involved in a unique and fun giveaway.
They hope to spread awareness about why Bird of The Year is important and to also help raise funds for Forest & Bird. From now until the end of October they are donating 30% of their personal fine art print sales to Forest & Bird! Go team robin!
Despite being loved by all who comes across it, the robin has never come close to winning Bird of The Year.
Because they fall under the ‘small and cute’ category of NZ birds, Robins are undervalued, they get ignored by the renegade voters who vote for the ‘underdogs’ of the bird world and overlooked by people who vote for the more familiar birds they see every day.
Robins are the middle child of the bird world, they aren’t critically endangered, yet they aren’t common, but their population is currently declining. They are sparsely scattered around the country in patches of mature bush and on offshore islands from Tiritiri Matangi Island to Ulva Island.
Even though they are small, these birds are very smart! Often at Zealandia Ecosanctuary you can find researchers using different methods to study their intellect. Not every bird has it’s intelligence constantly tested! The Robins know how to get what they want, on bush walks with a lot of foot traffic you will often see them hopping along behind you, cleverly waiting for bugs to appear in the disturbed leaf litter. They are confident and inquisitive and will often be your little ‘tour guide’ through the bush.
Sir David Attenborough once said: “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced”. This is especially true for children, in this screen-obsessed time getting kids to experience and enjoy being in nature is especially challenging. Children don’t want to see things from a distance, they want to get up close and personal and interact. Robins allow that, they are one of few birds that won’t get scared away if you make a bit of noise. Their friendly personality provides a unique experience in the forest, allowing visitors to feel like they are truly connecting with nature. There are countless people, both locals and visitors from overseas that have stories about how a particular Robin hopped along a track with them!
Unfortunately, people mistake their confidence as an indication that they are fearless and invincible, they are far from it. Robins only survive in areas with intensive pest control and are defenceless against introduced pests like stoats, rats, feral cats and possums. Thankfully, pest-free sanctuaries and off-shore Islands provide havens where Robins have a chance at surviving, which is good because a forest without Robins would be a little quieter and a lot less memorable!