Birds on Farms

11 February 2019

Citizen Science! Birds on Farms

Last weekend I did four bird surveys for Birdlife Australia’s Birds on Farms project. This project has been going for more than a year now, and landholders all around Victoria are acting as citizen scientists to help Birdlife Australia learn more about birds and their habitats on private rural properties. They’ll use this information in woodland bird conservation and protection.

My involvement started about a year back when I was contacted by a friend who has a hardwood plantation in the Strathbogie Ranges in Central Victoria. About a third of the place is covenanted land for wildlife, with natural regrowth after being cleared about a century ago. I’ve been birding there a few times when visiting and the place is pretty good for natives.

My mate had met with Chris, an ornithologist from Birdlife Australia, and together they’d set up four survey sites on the farm. Surveys are done quarterly, and the first couple had been done by Chris, and they wanted another birder to take over, allowing Chris to do other farms. That's where my involvement started. (Yes, I'm a birdo as well as an astrophotographer!)

It’s the third season I’ve done it now. It was pretty intimidating at first, because mostly you hear the birds and don’t see them so the surveys are a bit of a test in bird calls.

I'd definitely encourage birdos to get involved in this, and if you can partner up with a friend who has a property, that'd be awesome!

The Summer survey was a bit down on the Spring survey, but I guess that’s what you’d expect, with the birds being quieter and it not being breeding season. This Bassian Thrush was a surprise for the Spring survey.