The search is on to track down a bandit of pesky pests terrorising Eastern Bay of Plenty farms.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council biosecurity officer, Dale Williams says work is currently underway, to track down 5-6 rooks that have recently been sighted around Opotiki and Waimana.
“Two rooks were first seen near Opotiki a year ago. They have since nested somewhere in this area and raised 3 chicks.
“The 5 birds were seen regularly feeding in walnut trees near Waimana earlier this year.
“A sixth bird was seen with them from time to time. Apart from a brief sighting of a single bird near Kutarere the group hasn't been seen since September 16.”
He says the birds pose many issues to farmers and horticulturalists if numbers are allowed to build up.
“Rooks can damage significant amounts of pasture by overturning clumps of grass meaning fields need to be resewn,” he says. “They also target nut crops which is a problem for growers.”
“If the number of rooks is left to grow they could cause significant damage, which is what we are trying to prevent.
“The five or six that have been spotted won't be causing a huge amount of damage yet, but we want to prevent numbers from increasing – prevention is better than a cure.”
The birds, which were introduced to New Zealand in the 1860s are considered a pests by many regional councils.
Dale says BOPRC is now wanting to eradicate the birds before they can reproduce, which he says can be problematic task.
“The two adult birds will be nesting right now so we are keen to relocate them.
“If anyone spots the rooks they should not disturb them as this is likely to result in them dispersing and becoming hard to locate.
“Note the time of day, the number of rooks, the location (distance to nearest road intersect or notable landmark), what the rooks are doing (for example feeding in a paddock or roosting in tall trees), if they were flying, in what direction”
People are encouraged to report any sightings directly to Dale by calling 0800 884881 extn 7575 or text 021 707975.