The Matuku isn’t our namesake for nothing, it is a very special bird. They are cryptic birds so we need to know more about them. Developing a database of boom onset may simply answer whether there is a regional difference in onset of booming but over time may also increase awareness of matuku presence generally and add to knowledge of their site preference.
Although bitterns/matuku can disperse to and through various wetlands throughout the year, the booming of the male matuku defines a site as a potential breeding territory. Males boom from early spring through to summer to attract mates and to deter rivals.
Is there a regional difference in the start of booming time?
Getting a reply from observers throughout the country can perhaps give a ready answer to this question. However, a longer term Citizen Science project that accumulates a database of annual territories, will give an additional indication of population stability or decline.
Add your information to our database – record when you first heard a boom; the time of day; where it was [GPS co-ordinates if possible]; perhaps some confirmatory booms in the following days. Consider asking any residents close by your wetland[s] of interest to also take part- the more information the better!
When and where did you hear, the first bittern of the year?
Beautiful bittern images by Imogen Warren Photography.