Re: Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird

Subject: Re: Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird
From: "Andrew Noosa" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 09:46:50 +1000
Dear Syd C and David G
As a non-scientific member of this list, I want to thank you both for your time and comments on this topic. Your expertise is well-known and I appreciate your willingness to share it - very enriching for the list. You're certainly not a wet blanket, David! As a birder, I am used to visiting tiny "island" national parks in a "sea" of farmland. Weddin Mountain is a good example. Talking to a Landcare friend the other day, I was informed that the percentage of land under the ownership/control of Landcare members in this country is actually tiny and this doesn't augur well for voluntary "wildlife corridors" to solve the isolation problem. The problem is far too big for that. That being so, in the future, many other bird species will face the problem besetting the Albert lyrebirds of Blackwall Range. Another point that concerns me is that, while for example, the Albert lyrebird is presently secure as a species, something unforseen may occur to change that. David's query about why the birds disappeared from the Blackall Range/Mary River area is a good one - if we knew what the risks were or are, we could manage them better. If, as Syd suggests, the isolated populations today are in real danger of dying out, do we not need to save that genetic resource by translocating now (rather than waiting till a time when the species as a whole is vulnerable or worse)? Finally, David has to be right - it will take more research and more money. To get it, we are going to need more "political clout". That's a difficult one ...

From: Syd Curtis <>
To: <>
CC: bird <>
Subject: Re: [BIRDING-AUS] Re: Blackall Range Albert Lyrebird
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2003 22:43:24 +1000

David Geering wrote:

Without trying to be rude ... is this proposal (Would it be beneficial to
transfer some to the Conondales) serious or are we just dealing with

If it is serious there are a huge number of considerations (legal,
ecological and ethical) that would need to be addressed before any
translocation of birds were to take place (at least there would be in NSW).


It might be useful to air the more important of those considerations,
even though merely hypothetical.  (I reckon the species is secure and there
is no need for any translocation.)

Were any translocation of Albert's to be undertaken, it would only be done
by the Parks and Wildlife Service, which would take care of the legal
consideration (at least in Queensland).  I don't quite see where ethics
comes into it.  What are the likely ecological concerns - assuming for this
hypothetical consideration, that it is a matter of re-introducing the
species to an area where it occurred pre-European settlement?

While the species is almost certainly secure, some concern must be felt for
the long-term future of some small isolated populations - your Blackwall
Range population for example, and the ones at the head of Boundary Creek
north of Casino, if they still survive. Certainly the Blackwall Range ones
are breeding, but the total population must be quite small.   In-breeding
may eventually become a problem?

In Queensland, there's a very small but very rich area of rainforest on
Spring Creek east of Killarney. Originally it was part of the large area of
Albert's habitat of which your Acacia Plateau (Koreela NP) is now the major
remnant. This Spring Creek area is surrounded by cleared land - pasture and
cultivation - with no forested link to Koreela.  It has about ten singing
males at present, crowded into what would make two or perhaps three normal
Albert's breeding season territories.   There are certainly more important
conservation problems to attend to, but in the fullness of time, relocation
of some of the Spring Creek excess might be in the interests both of the
ones moved and the ones remaining?

And introducing new blood into small isolated populations like Blackwall,
might be helpful to such populations?

We humans have seriously interfered with the natural situation by creating
these small islands of Albert's habitat, with our clearing of the forests.
I suggest that in the long term, either we will have to further interfere by
some relocation to avoid in-breeding, or simply accept that these small
isolated populations are unlikely to be permanent.


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