Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird

To: Andrew Noosa <>
Subject: Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 06:27:33 +1000

Hello Andrew,

        I think that it would be undesirable to introduce lyrebirds to the
Bunya Mts.  Firstly, as a basic principle that one should not interfere with
the natural condition of any national park.  If lyrebirds had once occurred
there, then there might be case for arguing that reintroduction would be
restoring the natural condition, but there is no suggestion that they did in
recent times.  (The Riversleigh lyrebird fossil indicates that lyrebirds
once extended much further north than they do now.)

Secondly it is a particularly interesting area from a biogeographic point of
view and its probable past climatic history.  Even if it were not NP, such
an introduction might prejudice future research and understanding of the

The same objections don't apply to the Blackall Range.  There may well have
been lyrebirds there in the past since the Range drains on the west into the
Mary Valley.  In addition to the egg-collection records, the egg-collector
Sid Jackson had a note in his diary when collecting in the Mary Valley to
the effect that he had seen an Albert Lyrebird in full display.  (I think
the CSIRO Div. of Wildlife in Canberra has his diary, or a copy of it.)

However, if re-introduction were to be considered, I suggest that the
Conondale Range on the other side of the Mary would be a better proposition.
It is almost all State Forest or National Park and has what appears to be
excellent habitat for Albert's.



> From: "Andrew Noosa" <>
> Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 14:08:19 +1000
> To: 
> Cc: 
> Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird
> Hi again
> In the same edition of The Sunbird in which Prof Kikkawa proposes a new
> species of Zosterops, Syd Curtis reproduced an excerpt from The Emu (Vol 69
> Pt 2 pp 118-119) in which J D Macdonald presented evidence (largely from egg
> collection records) of Albert lyrebird occurring in the Mary River/ Blackall
> Range area of SEQ before the area was massively logged last century.  The
> evidence is hard to dismiss.  If we accept that the Albert lyrebird is now
> locally extinct in that part of its former range, what do people think about
> the possibility of reintroducing it?  Has there been sufficient habitat
> regeneration?  Are there ethical or conservation objections?  Could a
> population, for example, be established in the Bunya Mountains (even though
> there is no evidence of them having occurred there)? I would be interested
> in hearing any views people have on this subject.  Thanks
> Andrew
> PS The Sunbird edition was largely devoted to the memory of James David
> Macdonald (1908-2002), Foundation President of the Qld Ornithological
> Society.  A truly wonderful man.
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