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New Council member – Josie Galbraith

June 2nd, 2019

Kia ora!  Ko Josie Galbraith tōku ingoa.  I happened to be a self-confessed nature geek, with birds sitting pretty on the podium of my favourite taxa.  I grew up with family trips to Tiritiri Matangi, Pūkorokoro Miranda, Tongariro National Park, and anywhere else there were birds to be seen and trails to tramp.  It may well have been inevitable that I followed the path to bird-nerdery and nature-geekery, but I am glad of it nonetheless.  I am currently the Project Curator for Natural Sciences at  Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum.  My role involves curating content for new galleries,  helping share our important natural science stories with the public, and working with communities to tell these stories.  In my research life, I am principally an avian ecologist, with a research focus on urban ecology.  My research interests encompass invasive species impacts, conservation, animal behaviour, disease, and human–wildlife interactions.

My PhD research focused on the impacts of bird feeding in urban New Zealand, and my Masters looked at the ecology and impact of eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius) in New Zealand.  I have also spent a highly enjoyable summer researching kāki (Himantopus novaezelandiae) at the captive breeding facility in Twizel, to investigate the alarm response behaviours in chicks, and been involved in numerous translocations including red-crowned kākāriki (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae) and pōpokatea (Mohoua albicilla).  During these adventures, I have been dazzled, dive-bombed, bitten, pooped on, serenaded, evaded, and hoodwinked by more birds than I could ever have dreamed.  My hope is that more and more kiwis, of the non-avian variety, come to see the magic of birds as we know it.  The natural world needs our help more than ever before, and birds are wonderful ambassadors to connect people with nature.