Helping landowners help our endangered birds
Regent Honeyeaters (Anthochaera phrygia) and Swift Parrots (Lathamus discolor) are two of North East Victoria’s most endangered birds. Bush for Birds is a five-year project funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program that aims to help landowners create and improve habitat to help these birds to thrive.
North East CMA is working together with Trust for Nature and other key partners to deliver this project, which will address the key threats for the species in North East Victoria. Success in recovery of these endangered birds, which have been identified as priority species in the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy Action Plan 2015-16, will rely greatly on improved quality and quantity of woodland habitat.
Expressions of Interest update
North East CMA had fantastic interest in the Bush for Birds project Expressions of Interest for landholders to undertake on-ground works to improve and extend the habitat for the threatened Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot. The number of EOI applications was well above expected interest levels so our staff with Trust for Nature, have been busy visiting and assesing all eligible sites.
The assessment and review process was a huge job and has taken longer than anticipated due to the level of interest, size and scale of applications. The 71 eligible projects that were eligible were ranked to provide the best funding outcomes for habitat improvement, with many high quality sites assessed. The evaluation panel will finalise the recommended list of projects for funding before Xmas.
All landholders that submitted an application will receive a letter regarding the outcome of their project in the New Year. Those with a successful applications with be contacted by the North East CMA or Trust for Nature in the coming weeks to develop management agreements and finalise grant funding levels.
The North East CMA thanks all those that have shown interest in the Bush for Birds project and looking forward to receiving more applications next year when another EOI round will be released.
Meet the birds...
Regent Honeyeater (Anthochaera phrygia)
Regent honeyeaters are a striking black and yellow bird that has a patchy distribution between south-east Queensland and central Victoria. It primarily occurs in box-ironbark woodland, but also occurs in other forest types. The species primarily feeds on nectar and, to a lesser extent, insects and their exudates (lerps and honeydew). It mainly feeds on nectar from eucalypts and mistletoes and it prefers taller and larger diameter trees for foraging.
Their movement through the landscape is guided by the flowering of select eucalypt species. It is nomadic and partly migratory, with some predictable seasonal movements observed. Breeding varies between regions and corresponds with flowering of key eucalypt and mistletoe species. Although breeding may occur at the same site between seasons, some pairs change breeding sites between seasons.
The Regent Honeyeater is listed as Critically Endangered by the Australian Governments Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC 1999). Efforts to conserve the regent honeyeater will also benefit the brush-tailed phascogale, squirrel glider, bush stone-curlew, swift parrot and painted honeyeater which use the same woodland habitats.
Swift Parrot (Lathamus discolor)
This small parrot (only slightly bigger than a budgie) earned its name for its rapid, agile flight. Swift parrots are one of only three migrating parrot species in the world. They breed in Tasmania and fly across the Bass Strait in winter to feed on flowering plants across south-eastern Australia. The Swift Parrot is listed as Critically Endangered by the Australian Governments Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC 1999). They are found in Tasmania and south-eastern mainland Australia. The main threats to their survival include predation by sugar gliders, habitat loss and collision mortality.
Landscape-scale habitat restoration
The project area contains core Regent Honeyeater habitat within a number of National Parks and private land remnants and is one of four main breeding areas remaining in Australia for the species. Guided by the Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team, NE CMA will work with a range of partners including; DELWP, Trust For Nature, local landcare groups, Traditional Owners, Parks Victoria, Birdlife Australia and private landholders. The project will use revegetation, habitat augmentation (e.g. weed control, enhancement planting and thinning) and Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) control to address the key threatening processes impacting the species. These activities will also benefit the critically endangered Swift Parrot.
Trust for Nature, one of Australia’s oldest conservation organisations, is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on the generosity of supporters to help protect Victoria’s biodiversity.
Mark Cairns, Senior Project Officer Biodiversity NE CMA firstname.lastname@example.org
Will Ford, Trust for Nature email@example.com
Telephone: 1300 216 513
This project is supported by the North East Catchment Management Authority and Trust for Nature, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
Image Credit: Dean Ingwersen.