WINGS ON KING
A PROJECT TO FIND AND TELL THE STORY OF KING ISLAND'S BIRDS
King Island's is an important bird area
Located in the middle of the Western entrance to Bass Strait, half-way between the mainland and Tasmania, King Island acts as a biological stepping-stone between the two, is home to many resident species including most of the Tasmanian endemics and boasts nine King Island sub-species. Of these, two are listed as
Critically Endangered (the King Island Brown Thornbill and the King
Island Scrubtit) and two as Vulnerable (the King Island Green Rosella
and the King Island Black Currawong). The others we think are stable
but we don't really know.
A vital stopover for many birds migrating across Bass Strait, King
Island is also the summer residence of international travellers such as
the Ruddy Turnstone and breeding migrants such as Short-tailed
Shearwaters, Fairy and Little Terns. The coast of King Island is an
internationally nominated Key Biodiversity Area (KBA).
Despite King Island being such an important location for birds, we know very little about the conservation status of the land birds of King Island or its value to birds migrating across Bass Strait.
King Island's future
The fact that four King Island subspecies are listed as threatened, indicates that there is already a loss of biodiversity and habitat on King Island. With increasing pressure on the island's biological systems from human activities including climate change,
we need to have a method of monitoring the sustainability or
environmental health of the whole island.
Using changes in bird populations as indicators of overall environmental
change, is a well recognised, scientifically valid method of doing this.
Given the number of important and threatened birds that live or utilise
King Island, it is also the obvious method to choose.
Long-term, systematic monitoring of land-birds has never been
undertaken on King Island. 21 sites were set up in 2001 and monitored twice, but until now have not been monitored again. Although there is random incidental monitoring of birds on the Island which provides important information, its use for conservation management is limited. Wings on King will gather data from established sites situated across the island, on a regular and long-term basis so that changes can be identified over time and conservation actions undertaken strategically.
Over 60 established monitoring sites are situated in differing land usage zones, landscape elements, vegetation communities and habitat qualities on both private and public land
Surveys are undertaken as often as possible, with organised events in spring and autumn.
As King Island has a small human population of about 1600, there aren't sufficient skilled birders and bird enthusiasts human to undertake all the monitoring required, so we are inviting bird enthusiasts to visit the island and help us gather the data
Participants require registration to ensure they are covered by insurance and to allow the project team to ensure all the sites are monitored at some stage.
monitor the presence, absence and populations of the land birds of King Island;
establish current population levels of the King Island subspecies and monitor these in the future;
establish how the Bass Strait migrating birds use the Island when they are here
Watch for evidence of southward drifts in distribution ranges of mainland land birds
Using the data
changes in populations and status of both common and endangered birds, will alert us to changes in the natural environment and allow targeted conservation initiatives
arrival and establishment of new or previously irregular bird visitors may indicate southward drifts in distribution ranges of mainland land birds in response to a changing climate.
If you wish to view the full project plan or discuss the project in more detail, please contact us.
Magic of King Island birds
King Island acts as a biological stepping-stone between Tasmania and mainland Australia. For birds migrating North and South, the Island is a vital stopover to rest and refuel.
How can you help?
This project is being undertaken entirely by local volunteers and we need your help. Register for Wings on King, visit the island and help us discover and tell the stories of King Islands Birds