Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Guardians assemble! A new group of custodians is formed…

Posted on 22 March, 2017 by Tanya Loos

The special bird habitats of Clydesdale, Sandon and Muckleford now have a small team of Guardians! These three areas, of both private and public land, are designated as Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) by BirdLife International, and BirdLife Australia.

Connecting Country held a workshop on Saturday 18 March 2017 to recruit KBA guardians and provide training in filling out an Easter Heath Check form each year. Birdlife Victoria KBA coordinator Euan Moore and his wife Jenny kindly took some time out from their busy schedule to present a comprehensive introduction to KBAs, and how to become a Guardian.

The open bushland around the hall was filled with birds – despite being rather hot, we saw a Diamond Firetail, a Mistletoebird and a pair of Peaceful doves – 20 species in all!

There are over 300 KBAs in Australia – and the Easter Health Check is a means to working out which KBAs are in danger – so that lobbying can be done and funding procured. For example, recently the Murray-Sunset and Hattah KBA was saved from an inappropriate burning regime that had reduced the population of tiny,  rare birds called emu-wrens by such a drastic degree that they had become critically endangered.

In the case of our Key Biodiversity Areas,  the Easter Health check is a means for locals to come together and try to quantify the threats facing our woodland birds and their habitats. Each KBA has what are known as “trigger species” – the key species that are under threat in that habitat – in our area, the trigger species are the Diamond Firetail and Swift Parrot.  During the workshop there was much discussion around what these threats are, and the rate that they are causing declines in the Diamond Firetail. A fascinating process! Drought featured heavily, as did grazing, and pest animals such as European Rabbits, Red Foxes, and cats, both feral and domestic.

This young Diamond Firetail faces an uncertain future. Photo by Geoff Park

Connecting Country’s Stewards for Woodland Birds project is delighted to support the Easter Health Check initiative. The Health Checks filled in by our guardians will form the basis for a series of community plans for each area – Clydesdale, Sandon and Muckleford.

If you were unable to make it to the workshop but would still like to be involved – contact us! Not only birdos are needed for this process – anyone with understanding of our local habitats, the trials faced, and the communities working to address these threats is welcome to take part. At the workshop it was decided to form a small Guardians email list so that people can stay in touch – let Tanya know if you wish to be added to the list. Email or call 5472 1594.

Thanks to Euan and Jenny for an inspiring and informative workshop – and many thanks to the enthusiastic participants! For more information on KBAs, see BirdLife’s overview: click here

The KBA workshop and the Stewards for Woodland Birds Program are supported by the Helen Macpherson Smith Trust.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

« | »