Whose ‘hoo’ on Kangaroo Island

Monday, 13 November 2023

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Whose ‘hoo’ on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island Community Nocturnal Bird Survey

Kangaroo Island in South Australia, is home to more than 260 species of birds. Following the 2019—20 bushfires, it was realised that there was surprisingly little known about many of the island’s birds, particularly their population and their distribution across the island landscape.

Since then, BirdLife Australia has worked with other not-for-profit groups, government agencies and the local community volunteer network to address this shortfall.

Recent analysis of the data collected has provided valuable information about birds across the island. However, not surprisingly, there are few records of nocturnal birds.

Unless flushed during the day or photographed by remote wildlife cameras, these birds of the night are seldom seen on our surveys. We are hoping to turn that around with Kangaroo Island’s first community nocturnal bird survey.

The Kangaroo Island Community Nocturnal Bird Survey will run between 13–19 December. The surveys start at sunset (around 8.30 pm) and you can choose to conduct a survey for one night or up to all seven nights — it’s your choice. Each survey should take up to three hours, and they’re easy to do.

Enjoy some down time with friends, family or in your own company and listen to the sounds of the night. You could be in your back paddock or your backyard, a campground or a sportsground. Just head outside with a comfy chair, a drink and nibbles and keep an ear out for any calls you can hear.

Please note that this is an ‘audio only’ survey, without the use of torches, so that we can avoid disturbing the birds. Recent studies suggest that even filtered light can affect the natural behaviour in some nocturnal species. We also don’t want participants wandering around in the dark to find birds or using recorded calls to encourage birds to respond.

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with some of the island’s nocturnal bird calls. Recordings of our night birds will be added to the ‘Birding Kangaroo Island’ Facebook page to help you to recognise calls. Look for our posts on Barn Owls, Southern Boobooks, Australian Owlet-nightjars, Little Penguins, Bush Stone-curlews, Nankeen Night-herons and Tawny Frogmouths (though the latter species is seldom recorded on KI). Learning more about Kangaroo Island’s birds’ population size, their distribution and habitat use will help us to identify changes over time and contribute to improved conservation and land management advice.

If you would like to get involved in this exciting opportunity to help us learn more about our nocturnal birds, please contact us so we can provide you with everything you need to get started.

To get involved, email Chantelle or Caroline.