1-2 Aug 2015 – Resuming the search for Swifties
Posted on 29 July, 2015 by Connecting Country
Twice each year, Birdlife Australia encourages birdwatchers from across south-eastern mainland Australia to search for the threatened Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater. The first search was in mid-May this year. At this time (15 May 2015), Connecting Country’s Habitat for Bush Birds coordinator Tanya Loos led an excursion out to Columbine Creek. None were found, but a range of other interesting bird species were seen. Other locals went searching in the Muckleford area, but also came up empty-handed.
However, we weren’t alone here. Birdlife Australia informed us that the surveys across the country were largely unsuccessful – “The May 2015 survey resulted in low numbers of both species, with <150 Swift Parrots (compared to 1200 in May 2014) and 10 Regent Honeyeaters (compared to 24 in May 2014).” CLICK HERE to read their full report on the May 2015 surveys.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that these bird populations have gone into a catastrophic decline over the past 12 months. Each year, the Swift Parrots feed in a different part of south-eastern Australia depending upon the availability of food – and it can be a challenge to find where they are hiding out across such a massive area. It’s a bit like a game of hide-and-seek on a continental-scale.
This weekend – 1-2 August – is the second and final official search weekend for 2015. Connecting Country isn’t able to lead an excursion this weekend, but we encourage people to look for these two rarities in the local bushlands. Even if you don’t find any, send in a survey form to BirdLife so that they can build up a picture of where birds are not being found as well. (Survey forms are available here in WORD and PDF format; and further instructions from Birdlife are available HERE).
Good luck, and let us know how you go!