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Batesford, Fyansford, Stonehaven Landcare Group


Connecting to our country – what bird is that? A morning spent observing birds in Batesford


Birds add life, sound and colour to our lives. Watching wild birds is often a diversion from the pressures of our daily lives. Birds are recognized as one of the most important indicators of the state of the environment. There is strong interdependence between all living things in the gigantic web of life and the removal of even the smallest form of life may in time endanger the entire structure. Because birds are sensitive to habitat change and because they are easy to census, birds are the ecologist's favourite tool.

Recently the Geelong Field Naturalists (www.gfnc.org.au/) guided us through a region of Batesford woodland and farmland spotting birds. The Batesford region is well known for its rich diversity of birdlife and we counted an amazing 63 bird species listed below. So find some binoculars or just use your naked eye and see how many species you can find in your local area.  Check out a bird guide in the local library or on line and see what you can discover in your own back yard, local park or bushland. The following is a list of our discoveries with the Geelong Field Naturalists.  How many can you recognise?

Australian Shelduck, Australian Wood Duck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Chestnut Teal, Hoary Headed Grebe, White Faced heron, Little Eagle, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Brown Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Whistling Kite, Dusky Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Masked Lapwing, Common Bronzewing, Crested Pigeon, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Brown Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Galah, Long-billed Corella, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Crimson Rosella, Eastern Rosella, Red-rumped Parrot, Musk Lorikeet, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Rainbow Lorikeet, Superb Fairywren, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Noisy Miner, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, White-plumed Honeyeater, New Holland Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater, Brown-headed Honeyeater, Spotted Pardalote, Striated Pardalote, White-browed Scrubwren, Brown Thornbill, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Yellow Thornbill, Weebill, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Crested Shrike-tit, Golden Whistler, Grey Fantail, Magpie-lark, Restless Flycatcher, Little Raven, Flame Robin, Eastern yellow Robin, Eurasian Skylark, Welcome Swallow, Silvereye, Common Starling, European Goldfinch, Redbrowed Finch.

But is our world still large and healthy enough to support a variety of bird species? Changes in bird populations are often the first indication of environmental problems. Whether ecosystems are managed for agricultural production, wildlife, water, or tourism, success can be measured by the health of birds. A decline in bird numbers tells us that we are damaging the environment through habitat fragmentation and destruction, pollution and pesticides, introduced species, and many other impacts. The conditions of clean air, food, healthy plants and safe places to raise young that make good homes for birds and other wildlife, also make good homes for people; a habitat good for birds is a good environment for people.