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By Ruth Barnard

Whip up a pair of binoculars and discover the world of birds. The more we know about our native birds the more we can do to help them...


What you need:

  • Two toilet rolls

  • Coloured card

  • Paper straw

  • Decorative paper (optional)

  • Glue (PVA or Paper Glue)

  • Scissors

  • Needle or hole punch

  • String or ribbon

  • Paper clips or bobby pins


What to do:

1. Cut out a rectangle of coloured card that will neatly cover one of the toilet rolls

2. Cut and then glue the coloured rectangle onto one of the toilet rolls

3. Do this again for the second toilet roll so that they are both covered with coloured card

4. Cut out patterned paper and stick a strip to each end of the binoculars. Aim to have one end thicker and one thinner


5. Cut your straw to the same length as your toilet rolls and cover it in decorative paper

6. You will have a line on each toilet roll which is where the paper ends, you can hide this line by gluing the two toilet rolls together with the two lines touching

7. Finally glue the straw to the middle of the binoculars and leave them to dry

8. When the binoculars are dry make a hole in each side and tie your string or ribbon into it. TA DA!



TIP: While the glue dries at each stage you can clamp the paper down with bobby pins or paper clips so that it dries flat to the binoculars


Fantastic Birds and Where to Find Them

Wax Eye Bird  

Expert Level: Beginner (Otherwise known as: ‘Robin Stroker')

Silver Eye or Wax eye

Status: Not threatened

Where: You can find these beautiful little birds all around New Zealand mainly in trees or bushes; they may even be in your back garden.

Watch for: Little groups of these tiny birds in trees looking for insects, fruit and nectar to eat

Learn more about Silver Eye or Wax eye birds...

NZ Dotterel bird  

Expert level: Intermediate (Birdwatcher)

New Zealand Dotterel/tūturiwhatu

Status: Southern: Threatened Northern: At risk

Where: Coast around most of New Zealand

Watch for: Cute seaside birds with an orangey breast (the colour varies seasonally), they have speedy little legs and are great at camouflage. Truly adorable.

LOOK OUT: Dotterel nests are just a scrape on the sand and the eggs are incredibly well camouflaged so you must always make sure you are not disturbing their nest areas.

Learn more about the NZ Dotterel...

NZ Falcon  

Expert Level: Expert (Twitcher)

New Zealand Falcon/Karearea

Status: Threatened/Nationally vulnerable

Where: Sky and open areas. If you are lucky you could spot them from anywhere in New Zealand.

Watch for: Long pointed wings and a long tail, when they are soaring these become more rounded and their body is an upside down tear drop shape when they are perched. They can also fly over 100km per hour.

Visit: The Wingspan Centre to see New Zealand falcons and learn more about them OR check out the Marlborough Falcon Trust

Did you know?

• Binoculars are essentially two small telescopes with lenses that focus light and magnify the image

• The cylinder in the middle of the binocular is the Focus Wheel which you can alter to re-adjust your focus on a bird or object

• Binoculars have prisms inside which enable us to see the image the right way up. They also reduce the length of the path the light has to travel which allows the binoculars to be small enough to hold easily.

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