Saving the Woodland Birds of the Liverpool Plains, NSW

To: "Birding-Aus" <>, <>
Subject: Saving the Woodland Birds of the Liverpool Plains, NSW
From: "Peter A. Ekert" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 18:53:37 +1100

A major wave of extinctions is currently occurring in woodland birds throughout southern Australia, including New South Wales. Of great concern is not only the large number of existing, more specialised threatened species such as the Regent Honeyeater, Swift Parrot, and Bush Stone-Curlew, but that formerly widespread and common species such as the Grey-crowned Babbler, Brown Treecreeper, Hooded Robin and Diamond Firetail are now declining rapidly. The cause of these declines is loss of habitat. In agricultural areas, most of the complex natural ecosystems have been replaced by human-managed systems which causes a reduction in the biodiversity (number of plants and animals).

The Liverpool Plains, located in north-central NSW, is typical of temperate woodland regions in south-east Australia. The major landuses of the Liverpool Plains catchment are cropping and grazing. The major crops include wheat, barley, chickpeas, fababeans, sorghum, sunflowers, soybeans, maize and cotton whilst grazing comprises beef and sheep. The majority of more fertile alluvial soils (native grassland and Poplar Box country) has been cleared, while larger areas of remnant vegetation remain on poorer sandy and ridge top soils (Ironbark, Callitris Pine and Stringybark).

Birds Australia is pleased to announce that it has received funding from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Threatened Species Network (TSN) and the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) to undertake a project in the Liverpool Plains. The ‘Saving the Woodland Birds of the Liverpool Plains’ project aims to work directly with the Liverpool Plains Land Management Committee (LPLMC) and local landowners to obtain protection for woodland bird habitat. The project also aims to use ‘focal species’ work to identify the requirements of key bird species in the landscape.

With assistance from landholders, local naturalists, Birds Australia members and interested people from the public, we will be conducting bird surveys (targetting threatened species) in the Liverpool Plains Catchment, and will use data from the Atlas projects, to identify threatened species locations. From these data, in conjunction with the LPLMC, we hope to identify sites of high conservation value for protection or revegetation work. We then aim to use ‘focal species analysis’ to develop recommendations on how landholders can best enhance biodiversity in their region. This involves identifying the species in a particular area that are most sensitive to particular factors, such as distance between remnants, size of remnants, presence or absence of understorey shrubs or grasses. For example, Grey-crowned Babblers are particularly sensitive to distance between remnants while Hooded Robins may need large areas of remnant vegetation and complex habitat.

It is proposed that surveys will occur for 5 days of every month for the next 12 months (most likely the forth week of each month). Surveys will encompass all woodland bird species but will specifically target Bush Stone-curlew, Regent Honeyeater, Square-tailed Kite, Glossy Black-cockatoo, Swift Parrot, Turquoise Parrot, Powerful Owl, Barking Owl, Masked Owl, Painted Honeyeater, Brown Treecreeper, Hooded Robin, Speckled Warbler, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler, and Diamond Firetail. Accomodation will be bush camping in State Forests of the region and volunteers are requested to provide their own camping equipment and food. Transport for those who live en route from Sydney may be provided. Those interested should contact the Saving the Woodland Birds of the Liverpool Plains Project Co-ordinator, Peter Ekert at the Birds Australia Sydney office on (02) 94361349 or 0410566104 or email .

Peter A. Ekert
Manager      - 2001 Homebush Bay Bird Monitoring Project (Sydney)
Co-ordinator - Monitoring Rufous Scrub-birds (North-east NSW)
                    - Saving the Birds of the Liverpool Plains Project (Tamworth)
Birds Australia
PO BOX 1322
02 94361349
0410 566 104
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