October is a big bird month with two bigger-than-Bigbird events for unflappable amateur ornithologists.
It’s National Bird Week Oct 20-26 so during the second month of spring consider an average day for a Gold Coast bird lover:
– See an ibis at the surf club industrial bin in the morning
– See an ibis at the all-day breakfast buffet at Surfers Paradise.
– Shortly afterwards pass an ibis sitting on a billboard at Nobbys beach
– Then see another preening on the fence at Tallebudgera.
– The last ibis for the day is having a sunset stroll through the Macdonald’s car park.
It’s massive bird action and that’s just ibis – never mind the butcher bird that swooped your poodle or the shag that shat on your car, the seagull that stole your battered mullet or the kurrajong that woke you up at 4 am.
Think about those ibis though – how do you know that all those ibis you saw at different places during your day aren’t all the same ibis. How do you know you are not being stalked by an ibis.
You might feel paranoid because your poodle is being stalked by a butcher bird, but you can put any other fears to rest because you’re definitely not being stalked by an ibis.
That ibis you keep seeing is actually many different ibis, all of them as individual and unique as a whale flukes… It’s proven, he’s not ASIO Ibis or an Omnipresent Ibis.
The proof is in last year’s annual National Ibis Census, which recorded 2057 ibis across the Gold and Tweed Coasts, a number smack in the middle of the acceptable range of 1500 to 2500.
The local Ibis Management Coordination Group (IMCG) and Ecosure ecological consultancy manage this complicated bird for the Gold Coast.
Jess Baglin from IMCG and Ecosure says IMCG will use the data from the census to assess the effectiveness of management strategies and keep tabs on ibis colonies on the Gold Coast.
“We try to get people involved to get a really clear picture of the population,” she says.
The 2014 survey will be the fifth consecutive large-scale urban census of ibis.
Proper management must be mindful of the overall declining ibis population due to the loss of inland wetland habitat, she says.
Listen to the audio player below to Jess Baglin talk about the ibis census and managing Gold Coast ibis.
Citizen science projects that collaborate between scientists and volunteers are fun, Birdlife Southern Queensland’s Judith Hoyle says.
This month Judith is coordinating Australia’s biggest citizen project – the Aussie Backyard Bird Count (ABBC).
“It is fun and people can move from novice bird watchers to very competent bird watchers in a relatively short period of time,” Ms Hoyle says.
“We need ordinary Australians from all over Australia to count birds in their back yards or in their favourite spot. The only thing we ask is that people stick with counting for 20 minutes.
“Our goal is to reach a target of 100,000 birds recorded in Australia over a 14 day period.
“With 11 days to go we have already received over 1000, 20 minute counts with over 35,000 bird sightings.”
So if you want a break from the squawking, mating calls and feather rustling going on in the media at the moment this is your chance to make a meaningful contribution to the world’s most amazing reality show – nature.
How to get involved
You can help by looking for ibis on 26th October and reporting sightings at http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/surveys/WhiteIbisSurvey.htm
Or for the Aussie Backyard Birdcount go to the ABBC website at http://aussiebirdcount.org.au and submit records, but the simplest way is to download the free Aussie Bird Count app from iTunes or Google Play. It is very easy to use! It allows you to download the species you see or hear in real time and then upload the count information. It also has a built in stop watch and tells you when your 20 minutes is up. Not only that, when you submit a record you can access real time data and see pictures of all birds that have currently been identified. There is a built in field guide to help you identify birds you don’t recognise. You can also go to the Bird Finder resource on the Birds in Back Yards site that can be found at http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/finder. Or go to the ABC website which has a handy how-to video