In May 2010, May and Russell with assistance from the Otatara Landcare Group presented a submission to the Invercargill City Council for the erection of 12 signs on major Otatara Streets.
The innovative proposal was featured on two National News programmes.
The couple believe the signs alert newcomers to the area to the fact that many kereru fly low across the roads to get from bush feeding areas – if speeds are kept down the birds and motorists have a chance at avoiding a collision.
The kereru are not necessarily ‘drunk’ but need to fly down to gain momentum to go up after eating – they are simply ‘top heavy’ from the amount of food consumed.
The first season after the erection of these signs there were no injuries reported from birds being hit by cars in Otatara. Many motorists consciously slow down to 50 kmph whereas even though it is the posted speed limit, many more exceeded that speed before the signs went up.
However there will always be motorists who speed and in late 2011 a kereru was severely mangled by a collision with a car in Otatara which resulted in the bird having to be euthanased. It had massive fractures of wings and no hope of living.