2016 Swift Parrot surveys

Twice per year for the past 20 years or so, on specific days in the months of May and August, Birdlife Australia encourages birdwatchers from across the south-east mainland to search for the elusive Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters.

In August 2016, the CFNC will undertake its monthly excursion through local forests and woodlands to look for these two species.  The excursion will depart from the Octopus building car-park on Duke St, opposite the Castle Motel, at 9am sharp on Saturday 13 August.  If you can’t make it to the CFNC excursion, you can still undertake a survey by yourself at any time in the first two weeks of August.

The following information was provided by Birdlife survey coordinator Caroline Wilson:

“We had a great volunteer turnout on the May survey weekend. We were also extremely grateful to have the assistance of volunteer regional coordinators who helped the surveys run smoothly …. Overall Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater numbers were low in May 2016 compared to previous May surveys, but we are hoping to see more birds during the August 2016 surveys, as they travel across the mainland. See attached report for more details on the May 2016 surveys (click here).

We really appreciate the efforts of survey volunteers; even when Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater numbers are low the information collected is extremely valuable for determining the presence or absence of birds at a particular time; and data on habitat (i.e. flowering trees) helps to predict the distribution of both species for future surveys. (a copy of the datasheet is provided in PDF [click here] and Word [click here]).

We generally ask volunteers to survey an area for approx 20 minutes (walking slowly along a walking track or through a park and observing birds), but some volunteers like to take their time (up to an hour). For larger areas, some volunteers drive slowly looking for concentrations of flowering trees and/or lorikeets and honeyeaters. These techniques are similar to an ‘area search’, which is explained at: http://birdlife.org.au/projects/atlas-and-birdata/become-an-atlasser   

 We also encourage volunteers to submit data on other woodland bird species recorded to the BirdLife Australia Atlas: www.birdata.com.au  (i.e. this can be done by doing an ‘area search’ whilst looking for Regent Honeyeaters and Swift Parrots)

 Any spot is fine for carrying out the survey (e.g. national parks, conservation reserves, private property), but both species do prefer areas which contain flowering eucalypts for foraging or areas of heavy lerp and insect loads. You might find it useful to use our attached list of suggested survey locations (for NSW, ACT, Victoria and Queensland). You can also contact one of the Woodland Birds for Biodiversity team (details below) and we can put you in touch with a local coordinator to help find suitable survey locations. If you know the area where you’d like to carry out the survey, please let us know beforehand.”

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