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Ladbrooks Primary School

Lake Waihora


1. If the lake was gone how would it affect the birds?
A. Their food wouldn't be there and they would have to go to another place.

2. Do the migratory birds affect the non-migratory birds?
A. No because they eat different kinds of food that means they don't need to fight over their food.

3. Why do the migratory birds come to New Zealand and why don't they go to another lake?
A. The birds use other lakes as well as Ellesmere. They also stop on their way down south it's like a camping ground to them.

4. Is the bittern becoming rarer or are the numbers still the same?
A. In the loss of their homes (living areas) there are becoming less numbers. There are about 20-25 breeding pairs around Lake Ellesmere. The best place to find the bittern is in Hart's Creek in NZ.

5. Why do some birds migrate and some not?
A. Some birds in colder places can't find food because it is covered in snow or ice, so they move to warmer places to get food but they always return home.

6. How do migratory birds know how to come to come to Te Waihora?
A. The parents show their babies how to fly by the stars and to get into the right air currents.

7. Why are the black swans one of the only birds to breed in large numbers on the lake?
A. Because they get fat and happy by eating from the weed beds and they normally lay 6-8 eggs.

Many thanks to Colin Hill for giving answers to our questions.


About 600 birds are killed each year by hunters.

Pukekos like to live in very muddy swamps.

Pukekos are considered as pests and so people are allowed to shoot them.

People are getting worried about the population getting lower and lower.

Chicks are looked after by both parents.

Black Swans

The black swan population was about 60,000 birds before the Wahine storm and hunters were encouraged to shoot them. After the Wahine storm the numbers were reduced. Farmers think they are a pest because they eat the crops.

One black swan eats as much as two adult sheep.

Black swans lay 6-8 eggs. They build their nests from rushes, leaves, grass and straw near the edge of the water.

Black swans strip grass and eat their roots.

cartoon of a baby swan


Living Heritage - Tikanga Tuku Iho