Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

2016 Bird Monitoring Results

People most often ask – how are the birds doing? Are there more birds, and more ‘good’ birds as we have revegetated the landscape?  This is a really valid question, and the reason why we have put so much time and energy into our monitoring programs. It is a difficult question to answer. But we can say that we now know more than EVER before about the distribution of woodland birds across the landscape.  Monitoring began in 2010, and has combined both an in-house program ( click here) and our citizen science program ( click here).

treatment-and-season-woodland-birds-only

Thanks to Cara Byrt,  our monitoring database expert, we have this  fantastic graph, that charts the average number of species recorded across the seasons, in various habitats. This graph shows us that woodland birds clearly prefer the fertile gullies and river red gum flats that are in our ‘intact’ areas – areas such as Muckleford Nature Conservation Reserve, or private land such as Andrew Skeoch and Sarah Koschak’s woodland property. More woodland bird species are recorded in this habitat type than any other. This supports the fantastic research undertaken by our great supporter and technical advisor to our monitoring programs, Prof. Andrew Bennett. See here for a summary of this fascinating research.

When the same graph is generated for all bird species, it is interesting to see that the number of species using the revegetation and restoration sites is much higher. This may be because the more common birds such as Willie Wagtails, Grey Fantails, parrots such as rosellas are thriving in the restoration and revegetation sites.

treatment-and-season-all-birds

In 2013, Geoff Park and a team of experts analysed our woodland birds and their future in the Mount Alexander region, and one of the first things they noticed was the fact that some areas had been surveyed intensively (Sandon and Muckleford State Forest), and others hardly at all, especially in private land around Guildford, Walmer and Bradford. One of the aims of the citizen science program has been to increase the number of surveys across the landscape – via the development of group sites, and also by encouraging landholders to send in their surveys from private land.

Thanks to the enthusiasm of the monthly bird walk devotees and a key group of about ten participants,  we now have these brilliant distribution maps that show where our target species, the feathered five occur in our area.  The map below shows the distribution of the Diamond Firetail in our region.  The white circles show where surveys have been carried out , and Diamond Firetails not recorded. The coloured dots show that the Diamond Firetails have been recorded there. The number next to the dot shows not the number of individual birds but occurrences – so a number two means that any number of Diamond Firetails have been recorded on two separate occasions. The large ovals are the priority habitat zones as identified in our Ten Year Woodland Bird Action Plan.

diamond-ft-map-2016

Over the summer period, I will be doing a series of blog posts that analyse the distribution maps of the feathered five and a few other key species. That’s right – our database can generate this kind of map for any bird species!

If you would like a map similar to the map above of your favourite bird species – email Tanya Loos and she will be happy to oblige!

tanya@connectingcountry.org.au