The Australasian Seabird Group has been running a programme counting the
numbers of dead seabirds found on Australian beaches since 1992. Thousands
of records have now been collected, but there is always a need for more
people and more areas to be covered. So far, summaries have been produced in
the ASG Newsletter #31 (for 1992) and the soon to be published #33 (for
1993/4). The scheme aims to be a long term one (for example, in New Zealand,
they have a beach patrol scheme that has been running since 1940).
Information that can be derived from the survey include:
What species of pelagic seabird are present in Australian waters?
What are the spatial and temporal patterns of distribution of these species?
What, if any, long-term trends are visible?
In addition there is the chance for pollution and environmental monitoring,
an increased chance of finding banded birds, and, for the patroller, live
seabirds to see and get to know. Also, while you are ambling along a beach
helping contribute to this information, you might notice what great
relaxation and stress relief you get.
While we have regular contributors to the scheme, with the Australian coast
line being over 30,000 km long, there is plenty of space for more people to
help. There is still plenty of the coast that has never been looked at (we
have received no entries between Fraser Island and Eyre bird observatory),
and plenty of beaches to walk within the populated areas.
In order to contribute to the scheme, you do not need to be a member of the
Australian Seabird Group, and all you need to do is regularly walk along a
beach (weekly, monthly, two-monthly, whatever) and count the number of birds
you find on it. If you want to join up, write or send an e-mail to me and I
will send a form and instructions.
Marine Ecosystems Unit
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service
PO Box 44a