BirdLife Melbourne

Birdlife Melbourne is a branch of Birdlife Australia which aims to bring together people living in Melbourne who share a common interest in birds.

Australia breeds brainy birds - CSIRO blog Our native birds have some of the greatest minds of the animal kingdom. Given how harsh Australia can be, it's no wonder only the smart have survived.

[03/02/17]   In case you don't get the BirdLife Australia e-news:

Stormy times for tiny seabird?

When we think of seabirds, it’s usually the biggest that spring to mind—usually albatrosses and the like. Accordingly, they seem to dominate the news when it comes to conservation concerns. However, not all seabirds are big; indeed, some are quite the opposite. The storm-petrels are the smallest of the world’s seabirds, and they usually fly under the radar.

The White-faced Storm-Petrel is the only storm-petrel that breeds on nearshore islands around the Australian coastline, and the only of them to breed anywhere near one of our capital cities.

One such colony exists on Mud Island, at the southern end of Port Phillip Bay. However, not all is well. In the 1950s, the breeding population of these birds on Mud Island was estimated at up to 10,000 pairs, but since then the numbers have dropped off steadily. By the 1984, the numbers had declined by around 90 per cent, with around 1000 pairs present. Apart from occasional flurries of interest, little work has been done on the Mud Island colony since.

In February, a team from BirdLife Australia visited Mud Island to monitor a small Fairy Tern colony, but they also visited the White-faced Storm-Petrel, on the other side of the island.

What they saw shocked them.

Although it was far from a comprehensive survey, only a handful of nesting burrows could be found, and although the timing of the visit was several weeks before the chicks were due to fledge, only one chick could be found in its burrow.

The site of the colony is known as ‘the runway’, which suggests that in the past it was an open area with low and sparse vegetation. That is not the situation any more. The runway is now the site of a substantial colony of Australian White Ibis and Silver Gulls, whose nests cover much of the landscape. Feeding at nearby rubbish tips, the gulls and ibis have taken full advantage of city living, and are flourishing.

With the establishment of the ibis and gull colonies, the vegetation of the runway has changed. Now, fertilised by so many birds’ copious droppings, the soil is more fertile than ever before and this has allowed shrubby weeds to become established. The site is now overgrown with them, making the area less than ideal for nesting seabirds, severely restricting their access to burrows and preventing them from taking off. It’s no wonder the colony has shrunk.

The IUCN lists the White-faced Storm-Petrel’s conservation status as Least Concern, and it’s estimated that the world population comprises 4 million birds, so the decline of a small colony in Port Phillip Bay will have little impact on the overall scheme of things.

Nevertheless, a breeding colony of these diminutive birds almost within sight of one of Australia’s biggest cities should be regarded as a natural treasure. Instead, it seems to have been all but forgotten.

[03/01/17]   Chris Purnell from National Office has posted this:

Morning all. Melbourne Water have requested BirdLife pass on the following update regarding access to WTP:
-Due to the Avalon Airshow, roads leading to the Western Treatment Plant bird watching areas will be closed to bird watchers on the following dates 3rd,4th and 5th of March 2017.-

China to debut world's first bird 'airport'

An interesting idea - if only it works. Tianjin's wetland sanctuary will serve as a rest stop for peckish migratory birds traveling along one of the world's major flyways.

Saving the Spoon Billed Sandpiper » The world’s smallest satellite tag helps one of the world’s rarest species!

For those interested in shorebirds and rare birds. Very exciting news from the international research efforts helping the Spoon-billed Sandpiper – one of the world’s most endangered birds. We now have three wild adult ‘spoonies’ fitted with satellite tags – brand new tiny tags that are the smallest of their type in the world. Our knowledge of where…

Zoos Victoria have started a campaign against helium balloons and marine debris.
When balloons fly, seabirds die.
When balloons fly, seabirds die. I’ve become balloon smart and seabird safe at You can too! #bubblesnotballoons

Are the days of the iconic Carnaby's cockatoo numbered in Perth? Western Australia's iconic Carnaby's cockatoo could be lost from the Perth area if pine plantation clearing is not halted, WWF Australia warns.

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