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Sunday, 8 August 2021

Landholders paid to help conserve woodland birds

North east Victorian landholders can apply for funding to create and improve habitat for Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots, two nationally endangered birds.

Expressions of Interest for funding under Round 3 of the Bush for Birds project are now open until 10 September 2021.

Extensive land clearing in southern Australia over the past 150 years is threatening the habitat of the Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia) and the Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor). They face extinction unless their woodland habitat is expanded and improved.

Biodiversity Officer Phill Falcke from the North East CMA said large areas of suitable habitat for these birds are found on private land.

“The Regent Honeyeater, for instance, migrates every year to north east Victoria to feed over a vast area of winter-flowering eucalypt trees,” Mr Falcke said.

“The project pays farmers and landholders to restore and expand areas of native woodland that contain their vital feeding habitat. If managed well, these areas can provide benefits for lots of woodland birds and can help improve land value.

“There are a range of activities that can be funded to help landholders improve remnant habitat, including fencing, weed control, remnant woodland restoration, and planting of new trees.

“We’re looking for project sites that are five ha or more in size as bigger blocks provide the best habitat. If you’ve got a patch of remnant bushland or scattered trees or would like to revegetate an area linking to some bushland, we’d love to hear from you”.

The North East CMA is delivering this project in partnership with Trust for Nature.  So far, 65 private landholder sites across north east Victoria, covering more than 1800 ha, have already been supported to improve habitat through the Bush for Birds project. The project also aims to increase by 200 ha the area of land permanently protected for biodiversity by establishing in-perpetuity conservation covenants.

Bush for Birds is supported by the North East Catchment Management Authority (CMA) through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Expressions of Interest in the next round of grant funding opened on 9 August and will close on 10 September. Details on the types of sites that are eligible and the assessment criteria are available on the North East CMA website at https://www.necma.vic.gov.au/Projects/Current-projects/Bush-for-Birds. Please note that additional criteria apply to Round 3.

For further information or to apply online, visit the website or call Mr Falcke on 0429 400 411.

The Regent Honeyeater is one of the woodland birds whose habitat is the focus of the Bush for Birds program. Photograph: Dean Ingwersen 

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