Birdlife Magazine March 2018 - Ode to the Ibis - food for thought only

To: "" <>
Subject: Birdlife Magazine March 2018 - Ode to the Ibis - food for thought only
From: Mark Clayton <>
Date: Sun, 9 Feb 2020 00:07:45 +0000

Hi Jean et al,

There are many many journals that publish the results of birding projects both from scientific and "citizen science", sources be they large international journals or small(er) local ones such as Corella, the journal of the Australian Bird Study Association (formerly the Australian Bird Bander) or Canberra Bird Notes. A private individual obviously cannot hope to follow all these journals. I am not sure you are correct in saying that "Individuals conducting long term studies record and keep their results to themselves, perhaps for future use." The Charcoal Tank banding team operating near West Wyalong, which I coordinate, took nearly 30 years to collect sufficient data to have 2 papers published in major international journals with a 3rd in the editorial process. On some species we only have a limited amount of data but a paper that is currently in preparation managed to write a very comprehensive article on a species listed on the NSW Threatened Species List using data on only 52 birds. Prior to these publications whatever information we had on the relevant species at the time was given to the HANZAB series.

I doubt CSIRO or other major research organisations would consider Birdlife or eBird as somewhere to publish as they would consider them not to be of a sufficiently high standard given, in CSIRO's case, the use of taxpayers funds for their research. However there is nothing to stop Birdlife from reviewing any such research publications for all who are members to see.

Your last point is something I have been meaning to write to Birdlife Australia about. In the last 40 years there have been two Australian bird atlases. It is now about 20 years since the last atlas and given what is currently seen as the decline of most bird species, it is now time to start a third atlas. At the same time perhaps COG could also update the atlas done many years ago in COG's "Area of Concern".

Overall it is a problem that we will almost certainly be unable to overcome.



On 9/02/2020 9:49 am, Jean Casburn wrote:

This morning on Radio for the Print Handicapped I heard a reading from the above magazine. The article by Shaun Dooley was “Ode to the Ibis” (March 2018) was mostly about the eastern states distribution of Ibis and potential decline of the species as a result of climate change and our use of water etc.

This set me thinking about the collection of data Australia wide not only for this species but for other species as well. From my limited experience in talking to people in various places I feel distressed that there seems to be little communication between all of the bodies collecting data and therefore perhaps a skewed analysis of bird numbers.  While there may be declining numbers for example of Ibis in NSW, there appear to be very large numbers of Ibis in Queensland and northern and other states.

Coastal migrant bird watchers tend to send their information to Birdlife Australia

CSIRO and other research bodies perhaps send their findings to various gazettes and other research bodies, and most likely not to Birdlife or EBird. 

Next is EBird with an international collection – this data is available to anyone who cares to use it.

Does anybody take all of these collections into account in their summations and predictions of Australian bird species?


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