Help needed to bring bush back for birds
Habitat loss and degradation have been identified as among the most significant factors causing the decline of native bird and animal numbers in North East Victoria.
Species including the Regent Honeyeater and the Swift Parrot have seen populations fall to critically endangered levels. It is estimated that fewer than 400 Regent Honeyeaters exist in the wild, and approximately 2000 Swift Parrots.
A new five-year program ‘Bush for Birds’, funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, plans to reverse the decline of these endangered species.
A collaboration between North East Catchment Management Authority and conservation organisation Trust for Nature, the program is designed to increase and enhance habitat for the region’s most endangered birds, with a particular focus on private land.
Will Ford, Trust for Nature’s North East Regional Manager said, “Preserving large old trees, managing weeds, controlling pest animals and revegetation are all important activities for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. This is where private landholders can play a vital role – in improving the habitat values on their land.”
Mr Ford advised that an Expression of Interest for landholders to participate in the program will open soon, and funding will be available for a range of habitat restoration, protection, and management activities including fencing, revegetation, weed control and ecological thinning.
“We are encouraging landholders within the birds’ range to get involved with this project and help to provide the habitat these birds need to bring them back from the brink”, said Mr Ford.
The ‘Bush for Birds’ program was formally launched by Trust for Nature CEO Victoria Marles and North East CMA Katie Warner at North East Water’s decommissioned Barnawartha treatment plant, which was revegetated last year to provide habitat for the Regent Honeyeater.
The day was celebrated with a community tree planting session, seeing 500 native trees and shrubs planted to increase habitat for the Regent Honeyeater.
Trust for Nature is one of Australia’s oldest conservation organisations, established by an Act of the Victorian Parliament in 1972 to protect habitat on private land.
It is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on the generosity of supporters to help protect Victoria’s biodiversity.
Bush for Birds is delivered in partnership with the Department of Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria.
Photos by Chris Tzaros.