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2020 New Zealand Bird Conference

The 2020 NZ Bird Conference and 81st Annual General Meeting of Birds New Zealand will be held in Christchurch, at the Commodore Hotel, from 30 May to 1 June 2020 (Queens Birthday Weekend). The conference will comprise two days of scientific presentations and five field trip options. The Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday afternoon, 30 May.

This conference aims to continue the fine work of previous events in making this the premier New Zealand conference for the communication of new research findings on New Zealand birds and for providing opportunities for discussion and networking for professional ornithologists, students and others who are interested in birds and their habitats.

We will be presenting several keynote lectures and shorter talks of a wide range of topics, and in doing so we look forward to bringing together researchers and all who are interested to share their knowledge and findings to make this conference a dynamic, informative and memorable event. We look forward to hosting you in Christchurch at Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2020!


The primary method of registration will be online. Registration details and further information about the programme, field trips and accommodation options are set out below. A registration form and information pack for members not having internet access can be obtained by contacting or your Regional Representative, or by writing to NZ Bird Conference 2020, 31 Westmont Street, Avonhead, Christchurch 8041.




All events, the AGM and meals will be at the Commodore Hotel, 449 Memorial Avenue, Christchurch,

29 May 2020 (Friday)
6.00 pm – 7.30 pm               Registration

30 May 2020 (Saturday)
8.00 am – 9.00 am                Registration
9.00 am – 4.15 pm                Scientific Day One
4.30 pm                                  Birds NZ Annual General Meeting
7.30 pm                                  Informal Dinner

31 May 2020 (Sunday)
8 am – 8.30 am                     Registration
8.30 am – 5.30 pm               Scientific Day Two
7.30 pm                                  Conference Dinner, awards and prizes

1 June 2020 (Monday)
All day and part day             Field Trips in the Canterbury Region.

2-6 June 2020 (Tuesday)
5 Days                                    Post-Conference West Coast Atlassing Field Camp


Oral presentations will be spread across the first two days of the conference, and can cover any aspects of ornithology. Detailed instruction for submitting abstracts can be found in the Call for Abstracts. Expressions of interest from members or non-members who wish to present a paper or a poster are welcomed. Abstracts of talks and posters should be submitted to the conference organiser not later than 19 April 2020.


A variety of exciting field trips will be available:

  • Atlas Field Trip
    With the NZ Bird Atlas underway, there will be a field trip option of helping atlas the Canterbury region. This will be a blast to the past – as with the 1999-2004 Atlas, members will carpool, forming teams to fan out across the region and undertake thorough surveys of 1-2 squares per team. This is your chance to go birding in some new areas, see some new birds and discover new locations. We will attempt to pair people up with locals familiar with the area and less experienced observers with those more experienced, so people can pick up some atlassing tips.
  • Bird Banding 
    A half-day banding session will be based at Halswell Quarry, where regular banding sessions have been held for two years. Within the quarry, several banding stations will be set up, including an indoor station where Michelle Bradshaw from the Banding Office will have a range of training materials available. Numbers will be limited; all attendees must already be registered with the Banding Office and priority will be given to Birds New Zealand members. Cost: $5.
  • Canterbury Museum Bird Collection
    A behind-the-scenes tour that will showcase the most amazing items in the Canterbury Museum bird collection. Attendees will look at the bird holdings including the only Huia nest, a Stephens Island Wren, and a yellow Kākāpō. This will be lead by Birds NZ member and Canterbury Museum staff member Mark Fraser and will last approximately 1½ hours. Koha to the museum would be appreciated.
  • Christchurch Earthquake Sites
    The focus of this day trip will be on bird habitat altered by the earthquakes, including the Bexley/Avon River Mouth (earthquake destroyed) and Charlesworth Reserve (earthquake enhanced). Andrew Crossland (Christchurch City Council ornithologist) will lead the trip and highlight the impact of the earthquakes on birdlife at these sites. Cost: $10 (transport).


  • West Coast Atlassing Field Camp
    The National Atlas Team is proposing to hold a post-conference field trip to the West Coast to atlas the region. Teams will spread out across the West Coast to cover as much of the region as possible. The National Atlas Team will co-ordinate the field camp, providing maps and dividing up squares. The aim is that members will use their own vehicles, carpooling to assist those without a vehicle. Teams will come together at shared accommodation each evening to share a meal and make plans for the next day. Accommodation and evening meals will be provided. Please register your interest in this field camp, and the National Atlas Team will be in touch nearer the time to discuss further details.



Please book early for cheap flights to Christchurch. The hotel offers a shuttle service to and from the airport for all conference attendees, regardless of where in town you are staying. The number is 0508 266 663. For those travelling by car, the venue is on Memorial Avenue, just minutes from SH1.


We have arranged concessionary rate accommodation at the Commodore Hotel Discounted premium and business rooms are available. Breakfast is included and the group rate is based on occupancy of 1 or 2 people. Book with the hotel directly and quote Group Reservation Number 38990614592. Phone 03 358 8129 or

There is a range of alternative accommodation within a few minutes walk of the conference venue, e.g. Jucy Snooze ( – 16 minute walk. Airport Gateway Motel ( – 8 minute walk. Several other motels are on Roydvale Avenue, all within a 15 minute walk from the conference venue.

Central Christchurch offers a variety of accommodation options including a YWCA. The P line and Number 29 buses both leave from the Bus Exchange on Colombo Street and stop at or near the conference venue. Riccarton Road has several motel options, most within a 10 minute car journey from the conference venue.

Reservations should be made with the accommodation of your choice. Location maps are shown on their websites. Contact the conference organiser if you require more information.


Conference Organising Team:, call 03 358 5706 or 027 8666 543, or write to: NZ Bird Conference 2020, 31 Westmont Street, Avonhead, Christchurch 8041

Canterbury Regional Rep:  Sandra Wallace


Privacy Act
The information collected through the registration process will be used solely for the purposes of organising, planning and managing this Conference. If you do not wish to have your name published as part of the conference proceedings or made available to other delegates, please advise us of this.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances (industrial or otherwise) that disrupt the conference the organisers accept no responsibility. The information on the conference website and in the printed material is correct at the time of publication.  However, the conference organisers reserve the right to change information if required and to adjust the conference programme accordingly.


© Craig McKenzie
© David Lawrie
© Mary Thompson
© Craig McKenzie