Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

Rescuing remnants for woodland birds

Posted on 8 February, 2022 by Jacqui

Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata) was planted in an area protected by stock exclusion fencing (photo by Bonnie Humphreys)

In 2018, Connecting Country teamed up with Djaara (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Clans), Trust for Nature and Parks Victoria to deliver an ambitious three-year landscape restoration project called Remnant Rescue: restoring woodland bird habitat in central Victoria. During the 2018-2021 implementation of Remnant Rescue we were also lucky to partner with a series of amazing landholders who signed up to participate in protecting priority woodland bird habitat on their property, while also benefiting other threatened plants and animals.

Our Remnant Rescue project was supported by funding from the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) through the Biodiversity Response Planning program, supporting habitat restoration on public and private land. Djaara’s works crew, Djandak delivered strategic weed control, rabbit control, fencing to exclude stock, and revegetation across 123 hectares of private property. This work supported natural regeneration and added much-needed diversity and linkages to existing habitat.

By June 2021, we had collectively achieved some excellent on-ground results. Fortunately in mid-2021, DELWP offered additional funding to keep the project running for a further six months, allowing us to consolidate the achievements of the first three years.

The additional funding allowed landholders to receive strategic follow-up support from Connecting Country and Djandak. Some of the participating landholders have been working to improve the quality of the habitat on their land for a decade or more. Participation in Remnant Rescue provided a much-needed boost for their ongoing commitment to the long-term work essential for successful ecological restoration. Anyone who has tried to control weeds and rabbits in our landscape knows it is a process, often requiring repetition and vigilance over many years!

Rabbit control at this site relieved grazing pressure on understorey vegetation, supporting natural regeneration of shrubs and grasses (photo by Jacqui Slingo)

We hope you enjoy some of these images captured during the project, including some taken during the 2021 landholder visits by our Landscape Restoration Coordinator (Bonnie), in between COVID restrictions. As many of you appreciate, restoring woodland bird habitat is not a ‘set and forget’ activity. Hence, the additional six months of funding provided some very welcome support to landholders, to address issues that had come up during the project, and provide some further targeted weed and rabbit control where needed.



Why is rescuing remnants important?

After weed and rabbit control, we revegetated this area with native understorey plants (photo by Bonnie Humphreys)

The Mount Alexander region of central Victoria was once home to widespread forests and woodlands. Although now degraded and fragmented, and often lacking important habitat components such as large old trees and fallen logs, the local landscape still provides habitat for many incredible plants and animals, including threatened species.

This project focussed on addressing threats to some of the better-known and cutest members of our local fauna, the Victorian Temperate Woodland Bird Community, which is listed as threatened under Victorian legislation.

Some species of this bird community have become locally or regionally extinct and the outlook is not great for some of the 24 species that occur locally. Ongoing threats to woodland birds include weeds, pest animals, clearing for housing, loss of understorey species, and removal of the logs and natural litter on the ground that are essential for woodland birds to forage, hide and nest in. Threats such as weeds and rabbits degrade habitat quality and it’s capacity to provide food and shelter from predators (like cats and foxes, and larger birds). Addressing threats like weeds and rabbits, ideally in a coordinated way across the landscape, helps relieve pressure on native plants and animals, so they have a better chance of surviving to maturity and reproducing.

Stock-exclusion fencing protected this natural regeneration of Buloke (Allocasuarina leuhmannii), a threatened species that provides an important food source for seed-eating birds like Diamond Firetails (photo by Bonnie Humphreys)

Some of the revegetation in late 2021, showed good success rates of up to 90%, including this healthy Varnish Wattle (Acacia verniciflua) (photo by Bonnie Humphreys)


The beautiful Diamond Firetail is a member of the threatened Victorian Temperate Woodland Bird community that has seen marked decline (photo by Geoff Park)


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