Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Outcomes of our Bird Watch Workshop in May 2019

Posted on 12 June, 2019 by Jess

Bird monitoring at Connecting Country

A young Spotted Pardalote seen during a local bird survey (photo by Jane Rusden)

When Connecting Country started back in 2010, we began to survey woodland birds to monitor if our restoration efforts were influencing biodiversity. We carefully designed our study with the help of a university professor and selected 50 sites on private land across the Mount Alexander region of central Victoria. Since 2010, we have conducted over 1,200 bird surveys and collected 24,000 bird records. To read about the results of our long term bird monitoring – click here.

Previously, we had funding for Connecting Country staff to establish the program and conduct bird monitoring (click here). To allow bird monitoring to continue during fluctuations in funding, and ensure community relevance, we are moving to a system where data is collected by ‘citizen scientists’ – volunteers from the local community with an interest in nature conservation and bird watching. To learn more about this new approach – click here. We are now working closely with Birdlife Castlemaine District to continue our program. As we transition to this new approach, it is important our bird monitoring program aligns with community objectives.

Bird Watch workshop

Fifteen people attended an interactive community workshop on 19 May 2019 in Chewton. The purpose of the workshop was to clarify the aims of our monitoring program. We wanted to check if the questions we are asking about how our woodland birds are faring in the region are in line with concerns and objectives of the local community. We asked participants what they most wanted to learn about our birds.

While people were interested in a broad range of topics, three key themes emerged from our workshop that were relevant to monitoring. People are particularly interested in:

  • Effects of new housing developments on birds.
  • Effects of climate change on birds.
  • Effects of landscape restoration on birds (i.e., continuing our long term monitoring project).

We learnt a lot about what the community cares about, and we’ll be keeping this in mind as we consider new projects and funding opportunities in the future. You can read the outcomes of the day here. Connecting Country would like to sincerely thank all participants in the workshop for their contributions.

A common bronzewing at a birdbath (photo by Jane Rusden)

Future bird monitoring

Based on the discussion from the workshop, with the help of an amazing team of volunteers, we’re going to continue to monitor our existing bird survey sites, and build on the substantial data already collected. Our aim is to survey our 50 existing sites, or a subset according to available resources. We will continue to our investigation of the effects of landscape restoration on birds, and continue to collect long-term data on the effects of climatic events on birds in the region. If our capacity grows, we will be able to add additional sites, perhaps at housing developments.

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