Banding together to understand birds and bats

Tuesday 2 July, 2024
The Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority is celebrating birds and bats in 2024 with the Year of the Wing community awareness campaign.

Have you ever seen a bird or bat with a coloured band around its leg? The colour and unique number of a band leads to information that helps ecologists to understand the habits, movements and population status of an individual animal and provides information that may help the conservation efforts for threatened and migratory species.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority project officer, Janice Mentiplay-Smith, said the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme was launched in 1953 by the CSIRO to coordinate bird banding in Australia, and the bat banding scheme was launched in 1960. Today it manages a dataset of more than 4.4 million records. More than 2.6 million birds and bats have been banded and more than 14,000 of these recaptured, evaluated and subsequently released.

“By banding birds and bats, the answers to questions like the numbers of that species, where it lives and goes, age, food it eats and offspring can be partially or fully answered, which informs important habitat management and conservation decisions,’’ Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

“For example, waders or shorebirds migrate long distances in pursuit of an ‘endless summer’. Many of these birds, including those found in the Goulburn Broken catchment, breed in Siberia, Manchuria, Northern China, Korea and Japan during the northern summer.

“Sightings of banded waders and shorebirds reveal the routes these ‘long-haul’ travelers follow and which feeding grounds they use, therefore highlighting which regions require protection from development and degradation.”

Banding is also important to inform conservation actions for the more home-based birds. By analyzing information gathered by observing banded birds, it has been discovered that most small bush birds such as robins and wrens never move far from where they were born, yet Silvereyes will fly to Queensland from Tasmania and Victoria during the winter months.

The critically endangered Regent Honeyeater is the subject of a captive breeding program, as there are just a few hundred remaining in the wild. By banding the captive bred birds they can be identified and tracked in the wild. This is important for the recovery of the species by helping ecologists to understand the integration of captive bred birds into wild populations and helps to inform future actions.

If you see a banded bird or bat or find a dead animal displaying a band you can report it to the banding scheme via the online form https://www.dcceew.gov.au/science-research/bird-bat-banding/reporting-form   On-line reporting of banded birds and bats - DCCEEW  

Banded Regent Honeyeater. Glen Johnson

The Goulburn Broken CMA acknowledges and respects First Nations people and the deep connection they have with their land and waters.

We acknowledge the Yorta Yorta and Taungurung people and their ancestors/forbears as Traditional Owners of the land and waters in the Goulburn Broken Catchment (and beyond). We value our ongoing partnerships with Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Taungurung Land and Waters Council for the health of Country and its people.

We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and acknowledge and recognise the primacy of Traditional Owners obligations, rights and responsibilities to use and care for their traditional lands and waters.

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Shop 5/10 High Street, Yea VIC 3717
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