Boosting Bulokes project helps a diamond shine
Posted on 15 November, 2017 by Tanya Loos
Thanks to Connecting Country’s Boosting Bulokes and Diamond Firetails project there are now 1,200 more young Buloke plants in the western parts of the Mount Alexander region. These slow growing trees will eventually set seed and provide a much-needed food source for seed-eating birds such as Diamond Firetails and Common Bronzewing pigeons.
Buloke trees belong to the Casuarinaceae or Sheoak family and were once abundant across the region. Bulokes are so rare nowadays that they are listed as ‘threatened’ under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. We wanted to help bring this threatened species back into our local area. The Boosting Bulokes and Diamond Firetails project involved 78 landholders on 23 properties, Muckleford Landcare group and the kids and teachers of the Castlemaine Steiner School and Kindergarten.
Bonnie prepared a comprehensive fact sheet on Bulokes, covering their ecology, threats and importantly – how to plant and care for Bulokes! The sheet can be downloaded by clicking this link: Buloke-Factsheet-CCountry.
Diamond Firetails are attractive little finches whose numbers are declining in the region. Recent studies by Grace Goddard (unpublished PhD, Adelaide University) have shown that the Diamond Firetail relies heavily on the seeds from Sheoaks as a winter food source. Diamond Firetails also eat the seeds of exotic and native grasses. However, it’s the native grass seeds that are a superior food source. The Firetails also use the long grass stems to build their nests.
We can help our declining Diamond Firetail population, by planting:
* Native grass species such as spear grasses (from the Austrostipa and Rytidosperma genera).
* Sheoak trees – the more commonly occurring Drooping Sheoak ( Allocasuarina verticillata) and of course the Buloke ( Allocasuarina leuhmenii).
For a detailed (and somewhat technical) fact sheet on Grace Goddard’s Diamond Firetail studies click this link Diamond-Firetail-Diet-fact-sheet