I’m beginning the process of looking to buy a first home, which as anyone my age or younger can tell you is a pretty frustrating process. House prices which were already starting at high have now progressed past stupidly high and eye-wateringly high and are now at the point where I’m contemplating abandoning civilisation and living in a cave in Siberia. Prices may not yet be as high as Auckland, which is more expensive that London or Los Angeles (without, I should point out, those city’s higher wages, plus you have to live in Auckland, with, you know, Aucklanders), but Auckland’s stratospheric market is impacting here in Wellington. I really picked a great time to start.  So you can imagine how thrilled when I read about another damn thing driving up the prices here. Birds.

Well, that isn’t actually what the study said. What my friend found in the study, paid for by Wellington Council and Victoria University of Wellington, is that more and more Wellingtonians are using bird song as part of the pitch when selling their homes. As a result of the Zealandia Reserve and efforts to control pests, formerly rare or missing species like Tui, Kaka, New Zealand Pigeon, Bellbirds and even New Zealand Falcon are becoming common sights in the city, particularly the western suburbs. Even very rare species like Saddlebacks, Stichbirds and Whiteheads can be found in some gardens. And as many people enjoy these species, as well as the more common ones, it seems natural that people would look for and sell places based on whether the property has them. Which is terrible news for me, as I do want a place with a garden, but will I be priced out? Who knows.

tuiTui are noisy and common Wellington residents now.

kererruKereru may not be loud, but they are attractive and well liked.

kaka02A Kaka considers the expense of a view while eating

stitchbirdStitchbirds may be globally vulnerable but you can find them in gardens sometimes.

Have you ever bought a property based on the birding opportunities? Be sure to let me know in the comments.

Written by Duncan
Duncan Wright is a Wellington-based ornithologist working on the evolution of New Zealand's birds. He's previously poked albatrosses with sticks in Hawaii, provided target practice for gulls in California, chased monkeys up and down hills Uganda, wrestled sharks in the Bahamas and played God with grasshopper genetics in Namibia. He came into studying birds rather later in life, and could quit any time he wants to.