Ibis

Call for community input in to Strathmerton bird and tree survey

Tuesday 13 November, 2018
Strathmerton region residents are encouraged to share sightings of endangered bird species such as superb parrots, grey-crowned babblers and bush-stone curlews as part of the Goulburn Broken CMA’s Linking Lower Goulburn project.

Goulburn Broken CMA Project Officer Janice Mentiplay-Smith said well-known ecologist Chris Tzaros would be surveying bird numbers and locations during November and December.

“Chris conducted a similar survey back in 2016,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.  “This survey will not only try to ascertain the presence of these species and whether they’ve responded to revegetation works that have been done since the last survey, but it’s also an opportunity to talk to landholders in the area, and ask about their observations of the types of habitat the birds are seen in and around.” 

Mr Tzaros will also be surveying paddock trees in the area.  

“The importance of large, mature paddock trees is frequently often overlooked,” Ms Mentiplay-Smith said. “However, they are crucial for wildlife – one large paddock tree can be regarded as a giant supermarket for birds like the grey-crowned babbler, which is a bird that spends a lot of its time beneath old trees looking for invertebrates that live around the base of large trees. 

“Bush-stone curlews also rely heavily on large paddock trees.  As a primarily ground-dwelling bird, they spend their days safely hidden amongst fallen logs and timber, which accumulates beneath the trees, until they begin hunting for food at night. 

“A large tree is a ‘one-stop’-shop’ for these birds. It is safer and more energy effective for a bird to only need to visit one tree, rather than many smaller trees.  Flying between trees increases the chances of predation. Therefore, these single paddock trees, and the fallen branches they provide, are essential if we want to halt the local extinction of these birds.

“Paddock trees also benefit farm productivity. The bats, birds and bees that shelter in them eat pest insects and pollinate crops. Trees provide valuable protection for stock during extreme weather, improve soil health and reduce wind and water erosion. It’s so important we recognise their value and protect them.”

The Linking Lower Goulburn project is funded through the Victoria Government’s Our Catchments Our Communities initiative. The project works with landholders to improve habitat for wildlife. Grants are available for fencing remnant vegetation, linking remnants with new vegetation and conducting weed control to encourage regeneration of native vegetation. To find out more about the project, please contact Janice Mentiplay-Smith on 5764 7506 or janicem@gbcma.vic.gov.au