Past Surveys and Reports
2021 Wings on King Spring Surveys - completing the first 5 years of data collection...
DATES: October 22nd - November 22nd, 2021.
Due to the COVID outbreak across the Australian mainland, the associated travel
difficulties for participants to reach King Island and the limited number of King Island
locals who are able to participate, the 2021 spring surveys where conducted over a
month. Some volunteers came from Tasmania, which was fantastic and a huge help.
However the majority of the work was undertaken by local King Islanders who are now
becoming well trained in undertaking these surveys and increasing their knowledge of
the birds of King Island.
Field Plans and sign up details were sent to the teams by email.
It was a fantastic effort on behalf of everyone and a great job done.
2023 Wings on King Autumn Surveys
Dates: 27th - 30th April, 2023
Anyone interested in birds, both experienced or otherwise, are invited
to come along and give us a hand.
Thursday 27th: 5.30 Welcome, meet and greet your team, pick up your
WoK Kits and Field Plans and sign up
Friday 28th-Saturday 29th: Teams undertake surveys across the island.
Saturday 29th evening: Weekend dinner with guest speakers.
Watch this space for more details...
Sunday 30th April: Complete surveys if necessary, meet with WOK Assistants to return Field Plans, WoK Kits etc, free day
All participants MUST REGISTER at least one week prior to the event.
Registrations close Thursday 20th April 2023.
Teams are made up of at least one experienced birder or two with medium experience, together with keen to learn others. You can make up your own team or join a team that is compiled by the WoK management and are generally made up of a mix of experienced, non-experienced, visitors to KI and KI locals.
We would love you to join us - Its Fun, Free and Important. See following stories on this page...
Visitors to King Island are warmly welcomed. Find out more....
2021 Autumn Surveys concurrent with an Orange-bellied Parrot Blitz
What Happened? The biggest surveys yet...
The 2021 Autumn Wings on King bird surveys, were back on track after COVID in 2020 prevented visitors from away coming to give us a hand. Seven teams and 27 surveyors, took part - a record number and a great mixture of locals and visitors. All Wings on King sites were surveyed. A great result.
Most surveyors assisted with a search for the Orange-bellied Parrot that migrate through the island on their way to the mainland over autumn. Unfortunately, none were found but three Blue-winged parrots were spotted. Blue-winged parrots aren't officially thought of as migratory parrots as many over-winter in Tasmania, but some cross Bass Strait and over-winter on the mainland and are occasionally seen on the island in the autumn as they travel through.
Thanks to everyone who took part in these surveys. Everyone enjoyed themselves and felt a part of something much bigger and more important than just being interested in birds and their fascinating and sometimes hilarious behaviours.
Saturday Night - Community Meeting and Speakers: see report above.
Wings on King:
2021 is the fifth year of regular WoK surveying with data collected used to monitor the long-term sustainability of King Island's unique birds and environment. Surveys are undertaken in over 60 established sites, many on private land that are not available to non-participants. Small teams are led by at least one experienced birder with new learners welcome to join them.
To encourage birders from Tasmania to visit, we have moved the survey weekend one week earlier than usual. This allows birders from Hobart and eastern Tasmania to fly directly between Hobart and King Island on Sharp Airlines - so we INVITE YOU to come and join us.
Orange-bellied Parrot Blitz
After a highly successful breeding season, 2021 is expected to be the largest migration of these critically endangered, beautiful little parrots for many years with as many as 200 birds migrating across Bass Strait to overwinter on mainland Australia. The King Island Blitz is a serious search for the Orange-bellied Parrots to learn more about their movements and the habitats they use during their migratory stop-over on King Island.
Orientation and team formation events:
Thursday 22nd: 5.30 pm at the Cultural Centre where there will be an exhibition of King Island Threatened Bird Species and welcome refreshments provided.
Friday 23rd: orientation at the Airport for those coming from Hobart. Kate will meet the plane.
For anyone arriving earlier than 22nd April who wish to participate in the OBP Blitz, please contact Kate Ravich, 0417487263 for arrangements.
Wings on King: Friday 23- Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th if necessary
OBP: Thursday 22 April-- Sunday 2nd May
Social and Cultural Events:
Saturday 24th: Dinner with guest speakers (venue TBC)
Speakers: Mark Holdsworth and Barry Baker - Threatened Species of King Island Update;
Matthew Fielding - 'Impact of Ravens on Black Currawong on Flinders and King Islands'
Endangered, Endemic, Extinct" an exhibition at the King Island Cultural Centre of works by artist Therese Gabriel Wilkins https://theresegabrielwilkinsart.weebly.com/blog
All participants MUST Register prior to 19th April:
Note: Golden-headed Cisticola Photograph x Paul Fraser: King Island is the farthest south that this species is known to breed. Some sightings have been noted in Tasmania in recent years.
Orange-bellied Parrot photograph by Barry Baker
Golden-headed Cisticola on King Island by Paul Fraser
Black Currawong by Therese Gabriel Wilkins
2020 Spring Surveys - completed by local King Islanders
The 2020 Spring Surveys were again undertaken entirely by local King islanders due to COVID preventing visitors from participating. Altogether 15 locals took part. THANKS HEAPS to EVERYONE who contributed. Those who know their birds led 7 groups and were accompanied by others as scribes who wrote down the data and were also another pair of eyes looking out - even if they weren't sure what they were seeing until identified by the leader. A great way to learn more about birds and see special places on the island.
Two teams, led to two members of the KI Brown Thornbill (KIBT) and KI Scrubtit (KIS) Recovery Teams, also conducted specific 5 minute searches for the KIBT in any relevant sites, as they went. No new populations where located but a zero result also tells us about the habitat that the KI Brown Thornbill prefers, so it all adds to our knowledge of them.
Love this photo of a Strong-billed Honeater, endemic to Tasmania, taken by Ash Kennedy, that was recorded in several of the Spring Surveys. They are cheeky and wonderfully cheerful little birds that you often hear before you see them as they chatter amongst themselves and scrabble about in the hanging bark of Eucalyptus trees looking for bugs. Thanks Ash.
Autumn 2020 Survey weekend
23-26th April, 2020
The year of COVID-19 and King Island was closed to all visitors, so all arrangements for the usual weekend surveys were cancelled. However the surveys were completed by local bird enthusiasts over a five week period - from the 23rd April to 31st May. It was a great effort undertaken by a few birders supported by several learners. A great job done.
Using call play-back one team even recorded one of our critically endangered KI Brown Thornbill, on site within the 20 survey period.
Wings on King Spring 2019
by Tanya Loos
Coming from Melbourne, I was fortunate to be able to
attend this fun weekend and was invited by the Wings on King organiser extraordinaire
Kate Ravich to write about it.
The big news is that another site has been located for the Critically Endangered KI Brown Thornbill - and volunteers rewarded with amazing views, thanks to the Wings on King team and ecologist Mark Holdsworth.
This Spring survey weekend comprised 6 teams; 18 adults; 4 littlies and one 11 yr old so effectively 23 participants. And a whopping 61 sites were surveyed!
My birdwatching buddy Kent and I were in a team of our own, called “the Loos ends” after my surname Loos. It wouldn’t be proper birding without a pun! As we are both reasonably fit, and keen as mustard, we were assigned survey sites with scrambling, climbing, four wheel driving and fence crawling. The survey methodology uses the
standard 20 min 2 ha survey method, on the
King Island shared sites, using the Birdata app on
our smartphones. As we are both big Birdata fans
(well me more than Kent!) this was easy as.
We carried out seven surveys on the first day, and
five on the second day - each survey came with its
own map and instructions, which were easy to
We saw KI Black Currawongs catching flies in dune
scrub, Strong-billed and Yellow-throated Honeyeaters in remnant forest
on large farms, and Tasmanian Thornbills just about everywhere! We crept through ancient remnants with tall tree ferns (also known as man ferns locally) and giant banksias , enjoying the wildflowers in season. We were at first stumped by the local dialects of the Grey Shrike-thrush, and it took us a little while on one of the sites to correctly separate female Flame Robins from the local Dusky Robins.
The absence of foxes on the island has resulted in a strange addition to the roadsides and paddocks of King Island. Along with very high numbers of Bennett’s Wallabies, Turkeys, Pheasants and even Peafowl (Peacocks) in full breeding plumage may be seen all over the island. These birds are introduced, and naturalised, meaning they support breeding populations in the wild.
Like all Wings on King events - it wasn’t solely bird surveying. On the Saturday night, the KI locals hosted a delicious and convivial community dinner. We heard from legendary bird call recordist Fred van Gessel, whose name you may recognise if you use the excellent Menkhorst and Knight Birds of Australia smartphone app. And ecologist Mark Holdsworth gave us a great overvirew of the current status of the King Island Scrubtit and the KI Brown Thornbill.
BUT OF COURSE! THE HIGHLIGHT!
On the Sunday morning, Mark led an enthusiastic team of KI locals and out of town volunteers to see and hear the King Island Brown Thornbill. The ANU-led research team who visited the island in March, discovered that a particular KI Brown Thornbill call encourages local birds to come down from the canopy to investigate and that's what we used.
After a short presentation, we travelled to a site with tall eucalypt forest which appears to be a habitat type favoured by the species. The location is not
posted online, to avoid too many enthusiastic twitchers
and photographers disturbing the birds.
Mark played the call from a small speaker, and within
about 4 seconds a KI Brown Thornbill flew in to a tree
right near us. Looking like a Tasmanian Thornbill at first
glance - but then so so different! The bill was long and
pointed, and looked simply huge as the little bird called
vigorously back to the playback. Most of us had very good
views of the bird as it perched and moved about on
trunks and branches about 3/4 up the canopy.
As the Wings on King team are very keen for volunteers to be able to confidently identify the species, we set off down the road to play calls at more sites and ensure everyone had a good view. During this time we carefully learnt all the features of the Tasmanian Thornbill, including the key difference - white fluffy undertail feathers that are easy to see as the bird often holds its tail cocked.
We were rewarded in spades about an hour or two later, not far from the original site. We spotted one KI Thornbill, then another, and all had the enormous pleasure of watching them forage! The pair flew into a eucalyptus tree, then wandered up the trunk, using their long bills to probe and glean for insects under the bark and in crevices. The foraging style was very similar to a Red-browed Treecreeper, but the movement similar to a Varied Sitella. Treecreepers and Sitellas are absent from King Island.
We were very excited to observe one that looked to be collecting nesting material!! It was picking at cobwebs with its incredible bill. But then it continued foraging, without going to a nest. Perhaps it was eating baby spiders? Amazingly, another KI Thornbill appeared, making it a group of three, and Mark said this one was calling a call much like a juvenile thornbill - so it may have been a fledgling.
Meanwhile, a few volunteers observed another two KI Thornbills on the other side of the road very close to where they were looking for orchids. So effectively, we had 5 Thornbills around us simultaneously.
Very little is known about the foraging ecology and nesting behaviour of this Critically Endangered bird, so we were all blown away by the experience! It was a great privilege to watch the birds going about their daily business, seemingly unconcerned by the group of humans gathered to watch the spectacle.
The Wings on King team, in particular Kate Ravich and Ash Kennedy,
should be congratulated for organising and delivering an excellent
weekend that will be sure to have ongoing and lasting impact for
this species, as more and more volunteers get to know and love the
little #kingislandsnorkerbill (as Mark dubbed it in one of his tweets!)
I know we will definitely return again, to help Wings on King and
the King Island Brown Thornbill.
THE FESTIVAL OF ART CULTURE AND
ENVIRONEMENT (FACE) OF KING ISLAND
25th-28th April, 2019
Combining Art Culture and
With a theme of "Birds in Our Lives" this was the inaugural FACE, held in
conjunction with the Autumn bird surveys and simultaneously raising funds for
bird conservation on King Island. Forty two members of the KI community lent
over 120 artefacts from home all with bird motifs or a relationship to birds in some
way, for display in the 'Birds in Our Lives - Off the Wall" exhibition. Thirty six artists
donated either full or in part the proceeds from a silent auction of 62 fine art works
in the 'Birds in Our Lives - for Auction" exhibition. Further funds were raised from a
poetry reading and book sale by Jack Oats author of "Soaring" and a performance
of "Where Song Began - The Concert" from the composers Simone Slattery and
Anthony Albrecht. Substantial funds were raised but just as importantly, many
people both inside and outside the KI community recognised how important birds
are to each one of us and how they are integrated into our lives and culture.
Despite horrendously windy and at times rainy weather, all surveys were completed
by five intrepid teams who braved it - all to help care for our environment and our birds. This was our fifth survey event so our data is beginning to build. We are planning a full assessment of results once we have accumulated five years of data -
so there is plenty of work to be done yet...
Spring has Sprung - and many Survey's have been done
Report on the 2018 Spring Surveys - 25th-28th October
The 2018 Spring Survey weekend, had good birding weather – not too hot; not too cold –
and not too windy!
Surveys: Sixteen people took part, five from off-island including one who came all the way from Bangkok to give us a hand. This was a good turn out of King Islanders but significantly lower visitors and skilled birders. Consequently, we had fewer teams, we all had to work pretty hard and not all the sites were surveyed. But most were and, as usual, we all had fun getting about the island, meeting some of our land holders and loving the added bonus of King Island in full spring flowering mode.
Best birds seen: Indisputably the Swift Parrots.
They are still on the island so have been here feasting on the flowering Blue Gums almost 3 weeks after we spotted them and they were first reported in Currie. The wonderful Kevin Vang who came from Bangkok took some great photos - no mean feat as they trully are 'swifties.
Dinner and guest speakers: On Saturday evening 22 gathered for a great dinner and talk fest at Bischoff’s Café. Jenny Lau and Lindall Kidd from BirdLife Australia updated us on the current Recovery Plans for our Critically Endangered KI Scrubtit and KI Brown Thornbill. Lindall explained that all the successful threatened species recoveries to date, have all had active involvement and champions from the local communities.
King Island's very own Fred Perry then inspired us all by telling the story of his ‘enlightenment;’ how he went from a tree removing farmer to a tree planter. So the competition is on. We know KI is better than the rest of Australia in many things, so how about we prove we are better in this too and work to help with the Recovery of the four critically endangered species that utilise KI; our very own KI Scrubtit and Brown Thornbill and the visitors who depend on the island to help them along their journey - the Orange Bellied Parrot and Swift Parrot - and of course all those birds who live here and we so often take for granted.
‘Enrich Your Lives: Plant for the Future’ A workshop was held on Sunday morning at Frogshack Farm. Farmers, gardeners, anyone interested in improving the beauty and productivity on ‘their place’ were encouraged to come along. Presented by Carmen Holloway and Kate Ravich it was a great workshop with everyone learning and gaining insights into different and more sustainable methods of planting and producing bounty for all - including birds and wildlife. Eleven women and two blokes attended. Come on guys. What’s up? This isn’t just women’s work. It’s for all of us. Kids too.
A bit about Swift Parrots:
Like Orange Bellied Parrots they are Bass Strait migrants, travelling north as far as the Northern Territory during winter and returning to Tasmania to breed in the spring. This is only the 7th official recording on King Island although it is likely they are here much more frequently and no doubt been calling in from time to time for thousands of years. Now declared critically endangered, there are only about 2000 individuals left. A recovery program is in place focused on their nesting sites in Tasmania, where the Sugar Gliders are causing havoc by raiding their hollows and people have been removing their essential habitat. A lot is still not known about them though so the Recovery Team were very interested to hear they were on KI.
Lindall Kidd: is the Threatened Bird Network (TBN) Project Officer at Birdlife Australia. The TBN is a national program aimed at saving Australia’s threatened birds through community engagement and direct recovery management. Lindall has a Masters degree in Ornithology from the University of Oxford UK, and is currently undertaking a PhD in the Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group at RMIT, funded by the NESP Threatened Species Recovery Hub. Her PhD research investigates messaging strategies to engage people in threatened species conservation. Lindall has worked on a multitude of threatened bird projects, including breeding shorebirds in Arctic Alaska. Prior to Birdlife, Lindall was Bird Conservation Coordinator at Massachusetts Audubon in the USA.
Dr Jenny Lau: manages BirdLife Australia's Preventing Extinctions Program which aims to protect and recover some of Australia's most threatened birds. She first visited King Island in April 2018, and is working with the
King Island community, government agencies and species'
experts to develop a long-term recovery program for
the King Island Brown Thornbill and King Island Scrubtit.
Kate Ravich: has been watching Australian birds for 40+ years and working with BirdLife Australia in a number of honorary and volunteer capacities for over 20. She is the co-founder of the Birds in Backyards Project - a program that brings home gardening and bird conservation together - that won a Eureka Prize for environmental education in 2007 and has gone on to become one of BirdLife's most important on-going national projects. She
holds a degree in Adult Community Education and graduate
certificates in management and ornithology. Since 2004 she has
owned a 500 acre covenanted property on King Island where she
lives and works.
Carmen Holloway: is a keen horticulturalist and naturalist with a special interest in botany, healthy landscape function and the integration of food farming with natural systems. She operates a family beef cattle enterprise with partner James and has two decades experience observing King Island’s unique environment, through interaction with the local Natural Resource Management Group, Field Naturalists and visiting scientists in many fields. Following completion of a Permaculture Design Certificate in 1999, Carmen travelled overseas to Asia and the United Kingdom to consolidate her learning. On return she designed, and together with James began the conversion of 15 acres of the farm to ‘The Frogshack.' Now a diverse
and abundant polyculture, it incorporates an indigenous plant
nursery, garlic production, home veg gardens, fruit orchards,
avocado plantation, native wetland and wild zones, all of which
compliment and enhance the beef farm.’
Count me in: WoKing around King Island
2018 Autumn Surveys - 26-29th April - Report
Another fun surveying weekend on King Island took place over the last weekend of
April when 28 people in 5 teams surveyed 50 sites. Survey results are yet to come in.
Of these, 13 were visitors hailing from Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania – and
one from USA. The others were Islanders – and it was great to see new faces joining
Some surveyed intensively over Friday and Saturday, while others did one or half a
day. Everyone loved it.
On Sunday, a holiday from formal surveys, many visited the Frogshack Nursery for an informal farm tour and birding around the dam. More fun had there too.
Following are comments by two visitors new to King Island and to surveying birds:
“As a first time involvement with a bird count/identification project the
Wings on Kings Project sounded ideal …
We participated in the Birding for Beginners workshop that was
invaluable – especially the tip on how to use binoculars properly and never
miss your bird! …
Friday morning we met up with our Team Leader and headed for our first
site - Disappointment Bay. There we were inducted into how to count birds
and to our surprise it was mostly by listening. We learnt that the count
was for a strict 20-minute period in a limited area. We learnt not to say “there goes a small, fast, brown bird – What was it?” but to look and listen intently and slowly we did start to identify Silvereyes, Dusky Robins, Fantails, Scrub Wrens, New Holland Honeyeaters, Pardalote, Fairy Wren and the pert and precocious Flame Robin. …
We could talk about so many things we liked about King Island and the project – the friendly welcoming community, the cheese, and the lack of stop signs, but all we will say is we will be back for the next count.”
Beautiful art, beautiful food:
Over two months the junior school kids – kindergarten to year 6 – worked on a Threatened Species art show they called ‘Help: I’m Endangered” Wow! See photos of some of the work, all depicting the various endangered species that live here.
From the 3D sculptures, 2D plasticine imagines, nests, and drawings some showed real understanding of how and where these birds live. It was a stunning example of what is important to kids.
Dr Jenny Lau, BirdLife Aus, opened the exhibition awarding those present with a pin of the endangered Swift Parrot (an occasional KI visitor) and a poster of the Common Birds of King Island.
Then it was dinner at the Rock Café. This Café is at the KI District High School and is teaching students hospitality skills. 35 people dined on delicious soups, roasted pork, lamb, vegetables, coffee and slices. The Café rocked with laughter and chatter as our budding hospitality workers waited on us with professionalism - keeping up the high standards that King Island is known for.
Post-dinner we focused on threatened species. Starting with the new documentary ‘The Desparate Plight of the Orange Bellied Parrot’, we then proceeded into a community discussion about how we manage our endangered species. A report on the documentary and the results of this discussion will be available on the website shortly.
Many thanks and well done to everyone who made this weekend possible and such a success – too many to name here.
The whole weekend was yet another example of how well we do things on King Island and how much we have to offer.
King Island Endangered Species x the kids, KIDHS - a few examples
Dr Jenny Lau, opening 'Help: I'm Endangered" exhibition
Wings on King Spring Survey: 17-19 November, 2017
The first Wings on King Spring Bird Surveys are taking place over 17th -19th November,
2017 and we need help to monitor all the sites across the island.
Thursday 16th 5-7 pm: Welcome event with light refreshments: team formation,
sign-up and receipt of Survey Kits. Cultural Centre, Currie Harbour.
Friday 17th 8.30-9.30: Birding for Beginners Workshop: How to observe and monitor birds. Kate Ravich, Facilitator. Kate has been observing and monitoring birds for over 30 years and is a trained ornithologist. Beverages provided. BYO Breakfast. Cultural Centre, Currie Harbour.
Friday and Saturday 17th-18th: Survey work across the island with plenty of free time to undertake your own adventures
Saturday 7.00 pm BBQ with Little Blues: Chef Dwayne Rooke will present King Island produce at its best. Shelly Graham, KI Parks and Wildlife Ranger, will talk about the Little Blue Penguin colony nearby and lead a walk at dusk. Observations of them arriving home are guaranteed.
Grassy Boat Club Cost $45 pp
Sunday: 10.30-12.30 pm: Workshop and Lunch -
"Getting the Best from Birdata"
A hands-on workshop facilitated by Andrew Silcocks.
Andrew managers Birdata for BirdLife Australia, is a renowned
field naturalist with an extensive knowledge about birds and
their behaviours. He will demonstrate the value of collecting data about birds, how to use the Birdata App and get get the most from the Birdata website. "Wintergreen" Cost $10 pp
It is essential that you register prior to the event. See Button. This enables participants to survey sites on private land and the Wings on King managers to design Field Plans that suit You and the Project.
We advise you to book your accomodation, flights and car hire
(yes, you will need a car) as soon as possible.
Options are limited and the golf season will be in full swing so the island will
be busy. For more information about flights or to book click here
We hope you will come and give us a hand. You will be warmly
KI Birding in Spring: It should be great birding. Migrants such as the Satin Flycatcher,
Flame Robin and Dusky Woodswallow will have arrived and be
preparing or commenced breeding, while King Island locals such as
the Dusky Robin will be well underway. And when you aren't
undertaking WoK surveys, a stroll along some of the magnificent
King Island beaches and shoreline could give you our local
shorebirds such as Hooded and Red-capped Plover as well as the
migratory shorebirds including Ruddy Turnstone. In the evening,
Short-tailed Shearwaters and Little Blue Penguins arrive home to
their burrows and can be viewed from a number of sites.
Can't Make Those Dates? No Problem:
Wings on King is an on-going project designed so survey sites can be monitored at any time -
whenever it suits YOU.
Like to know more about the Wings on King Project click here
WINGS on KING Launch and first survey weekend - April 2017
The Wings on King Seminar and Launch
Presentation Summaries and Speaker profiles
Professor David Watson, Charles Sturt University
Seminar: “Boosting biodiversity AND the bottom-line—achieving win-win outcomes
with conservation farming”
Workshop Leader: 'Defragging King Island.
Environmental protection and profitable agriculture have traditionally been regarded as
mutually exclusive; any development to increase margins considered to necessarily diminish
habitat values. I disagree, and a growing body of research and a long list of case studies demonstrates the exact opposite. With integrated management, careful planning and strategic investment, farming enterprises and biodiversity values both thrive, building on one another.
As well as stepping through several examples, I develop the concept of natural capital, demonstrating the fundamental importance of managing soils and water for ecosystem health and agricultural productivity. With a diversity of diets, nesting locations and other resource needs, woodland birds are a sensitive indicator of habitat quality. By considering individual farms and farming enterprises within an inter-connected landscape, I demonstrate how maximizing connectivity is essential to manage climate-change impacts, enhance ecosystem services and keep rural communities vibrant.
Dave is a Professor of Ecology at Charles Sturt University. His research falls into three principal areas: managing biodiversity in agricultural landscapes; measuring and predicting the biological effects of habitat fragmentation; and the ecology of parasitic plants. His research has been conducted through detailed community-level field studies in Australia and Latin America. Most of his research is applied, improving our understanding and management of natural systems.
Dr Richard Donaghey, Consultant Ecologist, Tasmania
“King Island – This unique Island” and Workshops ‘Identifying birds of King Island and ‘Threatened Species of King Island’
King Island is special and unique in terms of its landforms, lost fauna, past extensive wet eucalypt forest and present flora and fauna that reflect its western location, midway between Victoria and Tasmania. Islands such as Tasmania and King are important for the evolution of endemic species and subspecies and for future conservation action such as predator removal and reintroduction of threatened species. Compared to Tasmania King Island has a high number of bird species considering it lacks some major plant communities of western Tasmania and lacks some bird species of eastern Tasmania. An overview of King Island’s ten endemic birds and other special birds of forests, wetlands and beaches will be presented and their functional groups and habitat requirements discussed. The Golden-headed Cisticola is a very interesting small bird that breeds on King but not in Tasmania. King Island is an important stopover for migratory shorebirds, the Orange-bellied Parrot and for breeding passerines. Bird monitoring on King Island will provide a clearer picture of current bird distribution and their status in relation to habitat condition, breeding success and predator abundance, and provide future directions for conservation. Climate change will impact on bird habitat and their food, for example soil invertebrates. Landholders will continue to play a significant role in conservation. Examples of future conservation actions are given
Richard’s lifelong love of birds and plants began as a young boy growing up in Sydney. He studied Agricultural Science at Sydney Uni but after four amazing years in PNG immigrated to Canada, gained a MSc in Zoology studying Bufflehead behaviour and then studied the ecology and behaviour of bowerbirds for a PhD. I first went to King Island in 1997 as a Bushcare Extension Officer and have had a love affair with KI ever since. I edited and wrote most of ‘The Fauna of King Island’ and wrote a report on the KI Scrubtit. In ‘retirement’ for the past 15 years, I have studied parental care in Australasian robins and other birds throughout Australia and New Guinea.
Dr Kerryn Herman, BirdLife Australia
“Using Bird Data for Land Management” and survey team-leader
We can use the data gathered by to develop long-term trends/indicators of birds. I will present a summary of the survey effort currently available for King Island and (if data is available) run some trend models using the State of Australia's Birds method developed specifically to undertake long term trend analysis for indicators. If data is not available I will present what we CAN do when we have sufficient data, and how that information can be used in land management.
Kerryn is currently the Research and Conservation Officer for BirdLife Australia. With over 10 years experience in research and environmental management, Kerryn’s knowledge of Tasmanian biodiversity and ecology is complemented by practical experience of monitoring, evaluation and reporting. Kerryn has a great capacity to explain issues clearly and simply.
Neale Coutanche –Cowra Woodland Birds Project, NSW
“Case Study: Impacts of a bird monitoring project 15 years on...”
The members of the Cowra Woodland Birds Project have been carrying out quarterly surveys of bird populations within the Cowra Shire for the past 15 years. The 90 sites range from remnant woodland within National Parks to run down Travelling Stock Reserves, cypress/ironbark ridges to riparian patches on the banks of the Lachlan River and heavily grazed shelter belts to recently established revegetation projects.
Neale Coutanche, a local Agronomist, has been involved at both participant and organiser level since the early days of the project. His professional relationship with many of the local landholders has provided the group with a trusted local base from which to operate as well as giving the land-owners confidence in the aims and objectives of the birders working on their properties.
He will outline the early days setting up the project, what they do to keep the ever-widening range of stakeholders on-side, as well as revealing some data trends from the project and some of the strengths and weaknesses in the accumulated data set.
Neale is an Agronomist in Cowra, NSW, where he has been involved at both participant and organiser level since the early days of the Cowra Woodland Bird Project. His professional relationship with many of the local landholders has provided the group with a trusted local base from which to operate as well as giving the land-owners confidence in the aims and objectives of the birders working on their properties.
Andrew Silcocks – BirdLife Australia
Workshop: ‘How to monitor birds and use the BirdLife database’ and survey team-leader
Andrew has worked at BirdLife Australia for the past 15 years where he manages the organisation’s Atlas Project - the largest ornithological database in Australia. Through his work he is involved with a number of bird conservation projects, including a special interest project conserving threatened wetland habitats and initiating a project to research the Australasian Bittern. He has recently overseen the introduction of new data entry technology that underpins the data collection for BirdLife Australia’s projects. As well as his interest in birdlife, Andrew is a keen photographer and all-round naturalist.
Kate Ravich – KINRMG Project Co-ordinator
About ‘WINGS ON KING’ – a project to find and tell the story of the birds of King Island”
The Wings on King project is fundamentally about ‘sustainability.’ The data gathered will inform the King Island Natural Resource Management Group and through them the King Island Community of the overall environmental health of the island – that is it’s environmental sustainability. Simultaneously, it will contribute towards monitoring Australia’s environmental sustainability through BirdLife Australia’s Bird Indices. The increased visitors to King Island to gather the data i.e. monitor birds, will contribute positively to the economic sustainability of the island including indirectly to work opportunities and thus social sustainability. In this talk I will briefly discuss what we mean by ‘sustainability’ and will present the overall design and methods of the Wings on King project, its relevance and value to King Island.
Kate has lived, part-time, on King Island since 2004, owning a 500 acre covenanted forest in the north-east. She has been a Member of the King Island KINRMG since 2004 and became a member of its committee in 2013. Kate holds degrees in Adult Education (community) and in Ornithology. She joined BirdLife Australia in 1986 and since then has undertaken honorary work in a number of capacities including co-founding the Eureka prize-winning and on-going Birds in Backyards program in 1998 and serving as a Councillor (Director) from 2007-2012.
The Wings on King Project was launched with a 3-day
celebration of the Birds of King Island, at the end of
‘Wings on King’ – Takes Flight
Wings on King is up, off and in full flight having been launched at the end of April 2017 with a mixture of learning, laughter, legging it and leisure!
Many thanks to all the wonderful people who gave us a hand; the visiting surveyors, speakers, the ground-crew who organised it all and the various local businesses who supported it. It was such fun.
While the weather wasn’t great, a fantastic weekend was had with visitors and islanders working together – learning from each other at many levels.
Surveys were undertaken on Forty sites as well as two special searches – one for Orange Bellied Parrots migrating back to the mainland and the other for the King Island subspecies of Scrubtit and Brown Thornbill. While none of these Critically Endangered Birds were sighted many others were including the Vulnerable King Island subspecies of Green Rosella and Black Currawong, with the least common but not listed, being a Lewin’s Rail.
All the speakers at the seminar and workshops gave excellent presentations – thought provoking as well as practical. See their profiles and abstracts
Social events included a BBQ and Penguin watching walk at the Grassy Boat Club that resulted in some enthusiasts braving a chilly evening and walking to see the penguins while
others remained sitting around the fire with a glass of wine hoping
the penguins would come to them – which some duly did! A
dinner at the local pub included a King Island Beef Farmer,
James Hill, giving a delightfully insightful and funny talk about
growing up on King Island and learning to love birds.