Monday, 3 July 2023
As part of NAIDOC Week, each year BirdLife Australia announces the winners of its Indigenous Grant for Bird Research and Conservation.
With this grant, now in its eleventh year, BirdLife Australia recognises the wonderful contribution that Indigenous people continue to make to the knowledge and conservation of Australia’s native birds.
The winners of the 2023 BirdLife Australia Indigenous Grant are the Esperance Tjaltjraak Rangers and the Djabugay Bulma Rangers.
Based on the South Coast of Western Australia, the Esperance Tjaltjraak Rangers will focus on the region’s seabirds, many of which breed in the nearby Recherche Archipelago KBA. After a beachcast seabird survey was established in the area early this year, dozens of dead shearwaters were found washed up on local beaches, which caused deep concern among the community.
The 2023 Indigenous Grant for Bird Research and Conservation will be used by the Esperance Tjaltjraak Rangers to conduct a workshop where they will come together with experts, special interest groups and the local community to share knowledge in designing a long-term beached-bird monitoring program which can be conducted in a consistent and repeatable manner. In addition, they will learn how to distinguish the local species of Yowli (Flesh-footed and Short-tailed Shearwaters) and Great-winged Petrels, all of which breed off the coast of Esperance. Birds that have been collected on the beaches will be necropsied during the workshop, and measures of bird health/condition, as well as the amount, type and colour of plastics ingested by the birds will be recorded. They will also learn how to safely capture, transport and potentially care for birds.
Meanwhile, the Djabugay Bulma Rangers, who are based in Kuranda, in Far North Queensland, will use their 2023 Indigenous Grant for Bird Research and Conservation as part of their ranger’s fire management activities. The project will provide data on the changes in the ecology of the area when subject to a planned fire management regime, monitoring changes to the bird communities.
It will introduce rangers to bird monitoring methods and facilitate a transfer of skills, which will ensure on-going monitoring, playing a role in the rangers’ efforts to better manage the threatened grasslands and open forests along the dry western side of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, including the Wooroonooran KBA. Local volunteer bird experts will participate, encouraging mutually beneficial relationships between the Traditional Owners and local conservation and natural history groups.
Key threatened birds in the planning area are the Endangered Southern Cassowary and Vulnerable Macleay’s Fig-Parrot, as well as other threatened wildlife, including the Critically Endangered Myola Frog. However, the proposed activities will focus on broad landscape and ecosystem health and rehabilitation, which is more in tune with the Traditional Owner perspective that sees the landscape as an interconnected whole rather than a focus on one or a few individual species.
Congratulations to the Esperance Tjaltjraak Rangers and the Djabugay Bulma Rangers!
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