Supporting difficult birds in difficult times

30 April 2020

Bushfires, heat, smoke, and floods made the 2019-20 Australian summer an exceptionally challenging one. The research sites for monitoring 'difficult birds' have been impacted by the fires, in particular, but the group's work continues. In fact, the Difficult Birds Research Group (DBRG) has already commenced research into understanding the impact of the unprecedented weather conditions on the bird populations.

Ross Crates and the research team have assessed the majority of the monitoring sites for the Regent Honeyeaters in NSW.  Though they are yet to gain access to the Burragorang Valley, the priority areas have now been assessed, and the team has started to implement a plan to assist the breeding of Regent Honeyeaters. 

The team has also identified that predators like Noisy Miners need to be managed in these areas. This is critical to the successful breeding of Regent Honeyeaters in the future.  Your gifts help support management of Noisy Miners as well as installing plastic collars on trees, which also prevents other predators from preying on the nests of Regent Honeyeaters.  Both of these strategies give the Regent Honeyeaters an increased chance at successful breeding. Based on their findings, DBRG has published a research paper on the management of Noisy Miners. 

In the long term, the breeding areas will be monitored to compare with existing data. Your support has allowed the group to collect data for the last five years. Comparing the bird population over the years will give a good indication of the impact of bushfires. It will also show how the group's efforts to protect nests have made a difference.

Ross and his team have also been collaborating with the NSW Government, as well as Taronga Zoo, on the best methods for the release of captive birds back into the wild. Taronga Zoo have been involved in this recovery program for Regent Honeyeaters for over 20 years. 

Without the support of donors, this very important research would not have its current scope and depth. All of the group's research is published on their website which you can read for free by clicking on the different links.

Despite recent challenges, the DBRG continues its work with the belief that it is essential to saving these critically endangered birds from extinction. Thank you for also believing that we need to save these beautiful, 'difficult' birds.

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