an observation about an artificial habitat for Hooded Robins

Subject: an observation about an artificial habitat for Hooded Robins
From: Con Boekel <>
Date: Wed, 06 Aug 2008 15:49:43 +1000

Much appreciated.

From my perspective, sustainability in the ACT, in one of the wealthiest per capita jurisdictions in the world, should include maintaining populations of the woodland birds such as the Hooded Robin, Brown Treecreeper and Speckled Warbler. If we can't manage it here, we would be hypocritical to expect others to achieve sustainability elsewhere. The Hooded Robin can therefore be seen as a test case for our way of life in the ACT.

It is therefore especially heartening to understand from your study that it is possible that the decline of one of affected woodland species can be reversed through the efforts to regenerate suitable habitat. I take two other messages from your note. The first is that we are not doing enough revegetation. The second is that we need to get on with it because efforts made now may take many years to have an impact on the rarer species.



Nicki Taws wrote:

As the author of the Greening Australia study of birds in reveg sites I can give you a bit more detail about Hooded Robins in the study.

Yes, the more common birds found in reveg sites were the more common species in the landscape, both woodland species and open-country species - hardly surprising. However the common woodland species weren't necessarily common at the site where the reveg was established before it was planted - at least we now know that those woodland species can move out of their remnant habitat and into newly established habitat.

Given how sparse the rarer woodland birds like Hooded Robin are in the landscape (and I think through your searchings you can testify to this) it is hardly surprising that we didn't find many HR in reveg sites. Even if totally suitable habitat is provided everywhere it's going to take a considerable amount of successful breeding and dispersal for the HR to repopulate to become a common species, and reveg efforts are still a very small part of the landscape. The encouraging thing is that some HRs (and other declining woodland species) were found in reveg.

They were found in a few of the the older reveg sites, ie ten years old. Possibly it takes this long for the site to develop suitable resources for the Robins, such as tall enough trees and shrubs, a few dead branches/twigs, fallen branches, a suitable ground layer of litter, native plants etc. HRs need open space, and as you observed, short grass and bare ground for foraging, so reveg plantings need to incorporate some open space within the site to cater for these needs.

The other answer to your question 'How can these plantings be improved to target the rarer woodland species that are in trouble?' is - create many many more of them.

Nicki Taws

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