Swifts: numbers variable but not evidence of a decline

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Swifts: numbers variable but not evidence of a decline
From: "Philip A. Veerman" <>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 21:53:10 +1100
As below I add my comments: From my book: "Canberra Birds: A Report on the first 21 years of the Garden Bird Survey". There is  nothing to suggest a decline in the status of this species from that.

White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus

Not a garden bird but certainly one of the highlights of late summer, as flocks fly high (or sometimes even low) over any habitat in our region. Typically but not exclusively seen before or after summer rainstorms. They occur here later in the year than at coastal centres, maybe taking an inland route back towards their Asian breeding location. Normally very few in November and December, rising dramatically in January with a peak in March and almost none in April. A few vagrants or even dubious observations in October and May. This species is often hard to count, especially when in large flocks at a wide range of altitudes. Counts tend to be broad estimates. Even so there is an obvious difference in abundance between years. Numbers during the first two years were double those of most other years with Year 3 by far the lowest. Of the other years, numbers have fluctuated significantly, with Years 7, 8, 17 & 20 well above the others.
Graphs on page: 96, Rank: 53, A = 0.21465, F = 23.95%, W = 11.4, R = 1.137%, G = 18.87.

-----Original Message-----
From: <>
To: <>
Date: Tuesday, 16 November 2004 10:01
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Re: Swifts

Wonder what the explanations are for the demise of needletail numbers

Has there been a serious decline in Swift numbers?

I've certainly seen Swift flocks in the hundreds (several of a thousand plus) in the Dubbo area since moving here in 2000.


David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator
Department of Environment & Conservation
P.O. Box 2111
Dubbo  NSW  2830
Ph: 02 6883 5335 or Freecall 1800 621 056
Fax: 02 6884 9382
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