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Look for a rook at Tanners point

Monday, 15 July 2013 3:15 p.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council staff are on the lookout for a couple of black feathered invaders at Tanners Point. We also want to be sure they're not native kaka, which look similar.

A pair of rooks has been reported in the area, and the Regional Council staff are enlisting the help of locals to find them and remove them before they have an opportunity to breed. The birds were spotted by a keen-eyed local who recognised the bird as a pest.

Rooks are a large, crow-like bird with a distinctive ‘kaah’ or ‘caw’ call. Regional Council Land Management Manager Robyn Skelton said while rooks were not common in the Bay of Plenty, they could become a major agricultural pest if populations were allowed to expand.

“They favour pastoral land and can cause considerable damage to newly planted crops,” she said.

Rooks can grow to 50cm long, and have a glossy black plumage with slightly purple tint. They were introduced by settlers in the 1800s, and are relatively common in Hawkes Bay.

“The birds are quite particular about their roosting sights, preferring thin stands such as shelterbelts of pine trees and eucalypt species. They are typically active at roosts in the early morning and late evening, and sometimes travel considerable distances during the day to search for food,” she said.

“Anything residents can tell us about the rooks is valuable, and will help us target our work. Identifying mobile pests across a landscape can be challenging, so if people have seen rooks, or what could have been rooks, in the last two or three weeks, we would like them contact us. We are particularly interested in locating their roosts, but any information is useful.”

The birds are listed as an Exclusion/Eradication species in the Regional Council’s Regional Pest Management Plan, meaning they must be eradicated. However people should not try disposing of the birds themselves as they can often move on if disturbed, she said.

If you think you have spotted a rook, contact Biosecurity Officer Alby Osborne on 0800 884 881 x 8516.

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