A couple of weeks ago around lunchtime I heard an odd noise outside. I thought it was a bird call, but it wasn’t one I’d noticed before. I kept looking in that direction but couldn’t see anything. After a few moments the sound stopped and I didn’t hear it again. I decided it must have been a child playing with a loud toy.
Then this morning at around 6.30 I heard the noise again. It was a kind of ‘awack, awack, awacko awacko’ and sounded as though it may have been some kind of duck.
I fumbled for the recorder on my iPhone, but by the time I was ready to record the sound had stopped and didn’t recur.
I hate this kind of puzzle, so searched through my book of NZ Birds, with no luck, and then started Googling. An Internet buddy who lives in Lyall Bay reported hearing a similar call.
I now think it may possibly have been a Sooty Tern or a related bird, though I’m not entirely convinced:
The call is a loud piercing ker-wack-a-wack or kvaark.
In the course of my searching I came across a couple of interesting and useful pages about NZ Birds and their calls:
Click on the images for information about each bird from the Department of Conservation or Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand websites.
Radio New Zealand would like to thank the Department of Conservation for its contribution.
NB: The bird calls are available for download but are covered by strict copyright conditions. These conditions limit access to personal use only. It is a breach of these conditions for bird calls downloaded from this site to be distributed, broadcast publicly, or altered in any way.
Radio NZ has played a bird call every morning before the Morning Report news bulletins since 1974. The page linked above gives us Māori and English names for the birds, photos, and links through to both Ogg Vorbis and MP3 sounds of their calls. What a treasure!
Also of use is the New Zealand Birds website, which carries many descriptions and listings of birds and a few sounds.