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Biodiversity Conservation

Eastern Metro



Conserving our woodland birds, with farmers’ help

2 Jun 2022

Many people were surprised during the pandemic to notice just how many birds were in their neighbourhoods. 

Limited to sitting in their backyards and taking only local walks, people heard, saw, and appreciated birds they had never before noticed.

BirdLife Australia however has been a voice for birds for more than a century, protecting birds and their habitats through research, conservation programs and advocacy.

Since 2017, BirdLife has facilitated a citizen science monitoring and engagement program called ‘Victorian Birds on Farms’, supported by The Ross Trust. That work has now led to the identification of central-eastern Victoria as a priority landscape for directly engaging landholders to restore habitat on their properties.

The project will help landholders learn about the birds on their properties, and provide them with materials and skills to identify the birds and monitor their population and habitat. 

BirdLife CEO Paul Sullivan said the Birds on Farms research and project focused on the temperate woodlands of south-eastern Australia, which are severely fragmented by historical and ongoing clearing. 

Ten threatened birds are residents or semi-regular visitors to the project area – including the recently nationally Endangered Gang-Gang Cockatoo.  An additional 18 threatened species are reduced to restricted residents or rare visitors, including the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot.  

‘Climate change and its effects exacerbate the impact of the habitat losses, and woodland bird populations are rapidly declining,’ Paul Sullivan said. ‘Helping landholders create, maintain, and enhance the quality of habitat for birds and other wildlife is crucial.

‘Biodiversity is also important to maintain productive and climate resilient farms into the future.’

Paul said the new project would implement four key interventions:

  • protecting priority areas
  • engaging with the wider community
  • regulating habitat loss, and 
  • restoration and revegetation.

The Birds on Farms Program Manager at BirdLife Australia, Chris Timewell, says the project does more than enhance the habitats for birds.

‘It showcases how we can have profitable agriculture and biodiversity working in balance across the same property, and across the landscape,’ he said.

BirdLife has established networks in the project region and volunteer landholders already participate in Birds on Farms monitoring.

The Ross Trust CEO Sarah Hardy said the trust was pleased to continue its support by providing $255,000 over three years for the new project. The funding will go towards the cost of a project coordinator and support officer who will work together to implement Birds on Farms. 

“We’re pleased to know that BirdLife’s work will complement other local conservation initiatives, and will increase the chances of long-term conservation outcomes,” Sarah said. 

Birdlife Australia is always keen to hear from groups and individuals interested in volutneering. Find out more on their website.

Image: Gang-Gang Cockatoo.  Photo by Andrew Silcocks via BirdLife Australia