Werribee Plains Wanderer

To: "Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Werribee Plains Wanderer
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 2008 10:41:58 +1000
I just noticed the Birdline for this species, referring to an article in
The Age:

I've included the article below.

Is this the first recent evidence of this species near there?  I did
once meet someone who said they thought they might have seen some at
Cheetham, but that they couldn't be sure because of the poor light.

Does anyone know the circumstances of the find, i.e. was it shot and
retrieved, found dead, or simply grabbed by the dog?  Whatever it was, I
agree with Chris that the dog owner is to be commended for reporting it.

Peter Shute

Rare bird discovered by hunter

    * John Elder
    * June 15, 2008

A RARE bird not seen around Melbourne since 1988 has turned up in the
jaws of a hunting dog near Werribee.

The hunter handed the bird, a male plains wanderer, to the Melbourne
Museum, which is preparing it for its ornithology collection.

Chris Tzaros, conservation manager with Birds Australia, said that
despite the circumstances of the discovery, it was good news for the
species - which is listed as critically endangered in Victoria.

"They're totally off-limits to hunters," Mr Tzaros said.

"However, this responsible hunter is to be commended for actually
handing the specimen in to the museum."

Plains wanderers look and behave like quail, when in fact they are
related to shore birds such as seagulls. They settle in native grassland
largely cleared for farming.

"Hunting certainly isn't the major threat," Mr Tzaros said. "Those
western grasslands are being carved up at a rapid rate for cropping and
residential development, and this will really put any remnant population
of plains wanderers in grave danger."

There are believed to be about 2000 plains wanderers remaining
nationally, with a small Victorian population holding out in the Mitiamo
region north of Bendigo.

The stubble quail hunting season ends on June 30.

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