Important ‘Bird of the Year’ research

One thing New Zealand well does is birds.

We have great native birds, and some don’t even fly. If you listen to Radio New Zealand we have the bird call every morning.

And on right now is the Bird of Year competition, last year the Kea won. New Zealand Geographic called them “the mad geniuses of the bird world” because of the way way the experiment with things just fun. A group of Kea were filmed setting off stoat traps using sticks, just to make them go bang.

I do like the Kea but this year I think I am going to vote for the Royal Spoonbill (Kōtuku Ngutupapa) because it is kinda goofy looking and it has random feathers that look like a weird hairdo and it is New Zealand’s only cutlery themed bird. Another bird with a good barnet (hairdo) is the Rockhopper Penguin, he looks like the hipster penguin. My kids want to vote for the Kōkako. They actually want to vote for the South Island Kōkako but can’t because it is officially extinct but there are rumours that they are still alive in the depths of the bush. There is a $10,000 reward if you manage to photograph one which might be the reason they want to go tramping.

There are over 50 birds to choose from for the bird of the year and if you want to learn about a particular bird there are heaps of them featured in New Zealand Geographic. Find them all here in the New Zealand Geographic Archive.

More about native birds

Researching Aurora Australis

I have been out trying to catch a glimpse of Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights. I spent last evening out on the port hills star gazing, I was unsuccessful again.

My first attempt to see the polar lights was when I was living in the UK and wanted to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. I booked a weekend in Iceland, which is supposed to have excellent viewing of the northern lights. Alas the weather in Iceland was cloudy, so no Aurora Borealis for me.

My children are now are asking lots of questions so I decided to do some research on the Auroras. My starting place is eDS, the libraries eResources Discovery Search which searches across heaps of eResources all at once. First result was the Research Starter on the Auroras which gives you a really good starting point for information, explaining how phenomena is caused by the interaction of solar radiation with the earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field. Other results include news stories, and articles from magazines such as Australian Geographic.

This got me thinking about another great eResource we have at Christchurch City Libraries, New Zealand Geographic Archive. NZ Geographic always has such great photos and didn’t let me down with this great article Nature’s Neon.

Now I armed with more knowledge about the Auroras will I go stargazing again and try to view the southern lights? Yes, I probably will.

Screen shot of NZ Geographic
A screen shot from New Zealand Geographic Archive – an eResource accessible with your Christchurch City Libraries membership.

Find out more

New Zealand Geographic Archive says my brain is safe!

NZ-geo-web1 (300x212)So apparently earwigs cannot actually eat your brain as your brain is protected by bone that it can’t get through, actually it won’t even get past your eardrum. This cheers me up no end as I have a hysterical reaction when things with wings go anywhere near my ears. Earwigs actually get their name from the shape of their wings which look like our ears. So all those B grade horror movies are purely fantastical.

Unfortunately grounded in the harsh reality of nature are the tongue biters that enter the mouths of snapper fish, suck their tongues dry of blood and then replace it. They then happily chew on parts of what the fish eats. So how did I know this? Well I heard all about this from a couple of short videos from the New Zealand Geographic Archive The archive gives you access to award-winning local content covering New Zealand’s places, people, wildlife and environment. The searchable content comes in the form of stories and images from 25 years of New Zealand Geographic and video ranging from 2 minute short films to multi-part one hour series. You can access all this content through the New Zealand Geographic Archive or through NZGeo TV which lets you search videos first. This is a proud New Zealand eResource which allows you to be entertained and increase your knowledge all at the same time in a package that is visually gorgeous. Have a peruse today!