Re: Inland farms needed

To: RAOU Publicity <>
Subject: Re: Inland farms needed
From: David McDonald <>
Date: Thu, 09 Jan 1997 21:36:01 -0800
Hello Bill and Birding-aus subscribers

I have family in the pastoral industry in North Qld, in the Gulf
Country.  They care muchly about the/their land, but the cattle prices
are so low, and the lies politicians and lobbyists are telling about the
High Court judgement on pastoral leases and Native Title are having such
an impresssion, that things are tough.  I am sure, though, that they
would like to contribute to the Birds on Farms project (though they
would laugh at the word 'farms', they are on cattle stations).  The
problem is that they cannot identify the birds.  On the rare occasions
on which I visit, they are fascinated at the size of the bird lists I
prepare for them, of birds seen on their properties.

This is a hypertentaive suggestion, but perhaps it would be possible to
develop a register of people in the bush willing to have birders survey
their properties, and of birders able to go to the bush to undertake the
surveys?  Probably a silly idea, just thought I'd throw it in.


RAOU Publicity wrote:
>  The aim of the RAOU's The Birds On Farms Project is to provide accurate
> data on the impact of Landcare iniatives, specifically as to their impact on
> birds.  a result of interest to bird people and farmers.
> We have a problem, not enough farms in the inland rangelands of Australia
> have responded; most likely because we have not got the message out to them.
> Can you help? Do you have any contact with farms west of the Dividing Range,
> the Kimberlys etc.?  If you do could you ask them if they can help the birds
> of Australia by counting birds in a 50ha block on their property, each
> season (four times a year) for two years.
> Please pass this information on to them:
> How many birds Outback?
> Many city-based conservationists are unaware of the care and affection our
> farmers of the dry inland have for their country.  So when news is made
> about protecting the environment, a lot of attention is focused on wet
> coastal forests instead of the efforts of landowners to link remnant native
> vegetation, to fence off others, or to revegetate damaged rangelands.  The
> impact of these unsung champions of conservation may now, however, come to
> light with a nation-wide survey of bird numbers.
> The Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union launched its national Birds on
> Farms Survey over 18 months ago and is currently surveying well over 200
> farms.  Since birds feed close to the top of the food chain, they are
> excellent indicators of the health of the environment.  Healthy farms, it
> has been discovered, often have healthy bird populations.  Farmers
> volunteering to count birds are making some interesting discoveries about
> their properties.
> However, very few of the farmers volunteering to monitor their birdlife are
> found in Australia's dry heartland--western Queensland, western New South
> Wales, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and north and central West
> Australia, which together represent 70 % of Australia.  The under
> representation of this vast area is unfortunate because the agricultural
> system in the rangelands differs from those in the coastal areas in that the
> former relies on its lower input agriculture on native pastures, and this
> promotes the continued health of many bird species.
> However, most of the farms participating so far in the Birds on Farms Survey
> are found in the coastal areas with their higher input agriculture.  To
> date, the results indicate that farms with extensive single cropping
> practises have fewer bird species (around 27 per 50 hectare ) compared to
> mixed farms having both cropping and grazing (around 45 species per 50 ha. ).
> Results compiled from rangeland properties could show a completely different
> picture, one that may pleasantly surprise the environmentally minded..  The
> RAOU's Birds on Farms is looking for participating properties to record
> birds on their property and to describe their type of farming or to allow
> local bird watchers to compile the data for them.
> For information, contact Dr Geoff Barrett, RAOU National Office (03) 9882
> 2622.  Fax: (03) 9882 2677. or write to :415 Riversdale Rd, Hawthorn East,
> VIC 3123.
> Many thanks
> Bill Fenton
> Marketing Manager
> Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union
> 415 Riversdale Rd
> Hawthorn East  Vic  3123
> Ph.: (03) 9882 2622
> Fax: (03) 9882 2677
> Email: 

David McDonald          Telephone:   +61-6-231 8904
PO Box 1355             
WODEN  ACT  2606        
AUSTRALIA               E-mail:  

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