|Subject:||Brolga flocking sites|
|From:||"Matthew Herring" <>|
|Date:||Wed, 05 Mar 2003 15:04:42 +1100|
I want to strongly encourage people to help Hannah Stibbards with her work on Brolga flocking sites in south-western Vic. and south-eastern SA. There are only about 700 individuals remaining in this area and very little is known about them at all. I have included her original email below, which was sent a few weeks back. The project Hannah is working on has major implications for the survival of southern Brolgas, as well as wetland conservation in general. It is continuing and expanding on the work undertaken by the late Graham Pizzey.
By counting the proportion of immature birds at each flocking site, we can get a good indication of annual recruitment and thus gain a better insight into the long-term viability of Brolga populations. I?m still very interested in counts from anywhere in Australia or Papua New Guinea, either Brolga or Sarus Crane. A good spotting scope enables every head to be properly examined. My studies in southern NSW and northern Vic. in 2000, which were dependent on observer networks and are currently being written up for publication, showed there are less than 250 individuals remaining and that only 4.4% of birds (6/137) were less than two or three years old. This could be just fine for such a long-lived species, but it contrasts strongly with the healthier northern Australian populations where about 15% appears to be the norm. In addition to population monitoring opportunities, the importance of Brolga flocking sites could be enormous. For example, it is possible th at if females don?t reach a certain body condition threshold prior to dispersing from flocking sites for the breeding season, then they?ll be unable to attempt to reproduce. Additionally, the availability of preferred food at flocking sites might significantly affect post-fledgling survival, which appears to be very low.
Brolgas are now flocking in south-eastern Australia and depending on the variation this year, they may not disperse until winter. So keep your eyes peeled and let Hannah know of any sites with more than four birds in south-western Vic. and south-eastern SA. Let other people know that by recording their observations and reporting them to Hannah, they are significantly contributing to our ability to conserve this highly charismatic species.
Kind regards, Matt Herring. Long live the southern Brolgas and their wetland habitat!
Thank you.Hannah Stibbards Centre for Environmental Management School of Science and Engineering University of Ballarat PO Box 663 Ballarat, VICTORIA 3353 Phone +61 3 5327 9122 E-mail:
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