14 Sep 2011

Another bell tolls for godwits

7:39 pm on 14 September 2011

The arrival of the godwits in Christchurch has been marked by the bells of St Paul's Anglican Church this year.

Traditionally, the migrating birds have been welcomed by the bells of Christchurch Cathedral, but that has had to change, because of the damage done to the cathedral by the February earthquake.

The bar-tailed godwits begin returning to Christchurch about this time every year after making the longest non-stop migration of any creature - 11,000km.

They have flown for 10 days from Alaska to escape the winter and feed at the Avon-Heathcote estuary, before returning to Alaska early next year to breed.

The organiser of the bell-ringing at St Paul's, Bill Thew, says the church's bells are similar to those at the cathedral and it takes eight people to toll them.

Mr Thew says the church, in Papanui, has had some quake damage but the bell tower is unscathed.