Small birds take flight?

To: <>, "Michael Hunter" <>
Subject: Small birds take flight?
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2005 18:25:55 +1000
Where is the actual numerical evidence from continuous, long-running bird population surveys, with a consistent survey method, that Superb Fairy-wrens and various other species are declining in urban areas? I searched for such evidence of surveys when I prepared the report on COG's GBS. The Atlases report on recording rate but that is of limited use and there is a big gap in years between the two and two different data collection method sets. There are various other limited bits of publications but nothing continuous over a whole bird community over many years in Australia. The only reference I know is the full analysis of Canberra Ornithologists Group's (COG) Garden Bird Survey (GBS). This is in my 130 page book "Canberra Birds: A Report on the first 21 years of the Garden Bird Survey" (and the earlier 18 year edition). This describes population trends of all our birds by month and year from July 1981 to June 2002 and is also intended as a fitting tribute to all those who have contributed to the survey over that time. Sure Canberra is only one small area and may be a special case but at least we have data. Another reason for publishing the book was to promote the GBS method to other bird groups around Australia and beyond. It is also a fun survey.
For what is it worth, it documents the steady and dramatic increase in abundance of the Superb Fairy-wren and White-browed Scrubwren and various other species over that time. For those two species it is surely the increase in available habitat that has helped them. Of course others have declined and others are stable or fluctuating.
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