Wow! The search for the KI Brown Thornbill goes on...
The Wings on King Spring survey weekend was another great weekend - despite the weather! Find out more...
It culminated in a workshop with Mark Holdsworth leading a group of interested King Islanders and visitors from off the island, to find the elusive King Island Brown Thornbill. We found them - and at one stage there were 5 individual birds around us. Sooo exciting and what a privilege. When you see the bird it looks so very different to our other King Island Tasmanian Thornbill - also a KI subspecies but commonly found across the island. It is increasingly thought that this Brown Thornbill is really a full species in its own right, but at this stage the work hasn't been done to determine that. Fingers crossed for the future!
A Recovery Team for both the Ki Brown Thornbill and KI Scrubtit is currently being formed. This is being led by BirdLife Australia's Preventing Extinctions Program, with a wide-range of representatives from King Island farmers to government and conservation agencies.
While the combined knowledge of this group is prodigious the task is a huge challenge with estimated populations of both species at 50 or below. Progress will be slow but already we are making in-roads. The current task is to determine where on the island the birds are surviving and to achieve this, 3 King Island locals have been trained and provided with the quipment to search remaining remnants. A new spot with at least 2 birds was found over this survey weekend as well as the 5 seen in their stronghold.
We aren't posting where we are finding them at this stage. They are too vulnerable and don't need to be disturbed by keen bird watchers wanting to see them. However, from time to time we will run professionally led outings for those keen to have a look.
Photos by Barry Baker