OUR CONSERVATION ACTIONS
CBOC supports a variety of bird-related conservation activities and initiatives, some of which are listed below. We encourage our members to participate in these if interested.
Our CBOC Conservation Officer regularly prepares submissions on behalf of CBOC to support our object of actively advocating for the protection and conservation of native birds and their habitat.
Our Conservation Officer can be contacted on email@example.com. Refer to Meet Our Committee to see the current person.
We also have a CBOC Memorial Fund from which CBOC makes Grants to bird-related conservation initiatives.
MAKE YOUR BIRDING COUNT
Make your birding count by submitting Bird Surveys of your sightings. Surveys provide data on the abundance and distribution of bird species, and can help to support a variety of conservation initiatives. The surveys can be submitted in easy to use apps or web portals. Various different types of surveys can be submitted including formal 2 hectare, 20 min surveys, more general area searches of 500m or 5km, or more informal incidental searches.
The main apps that are used for this are:
BirdLife Australia and CBOC recommend the use of Birdata for recording surveys because of the standardised scientific survey basis that is used. This information goes directly into a national bird database and can then be used for use in research and conservation.
SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK SPRING SURVEYS
Every year Cumberland Bird Observers Club partners with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to carry out the Spring Bird Census. CBOC members survey over 45 sites around the Park each spring. Surveys start in September, continue for eight weeks, and are conducted on Tuesday mornings. Even if you are unable to commit to the full 8 weeks, your help on some survey days will be useful and appreciated. An information and training session is held on the Tuesday morning before the first survey.
For over 17 years, the Census has been the fundamental source of data for measuring habitat health to protect the thousands of birds which reside within the 425 hectares of parklands at Sydney Olympic Park. This long-term monitoring of birds allows for ongoing assessment of trends in bird abundance and diversity, and assists in managing the park and its variety of habitats.
CBOC receives a donation from Sydney Olympic Park Authority for doing these surveys, which is to be used to support bird-related conservation projects. In the 2022-2023 financial year, this money has been used to provide a Silver sponsorship to the project to track the endangered Painted Snipe.
BIRDSCAPING YOUR GARDEN
There is a great opportunity to attract birds to your garden, even in an urban environment, by designing and planting a garden that will provide them with water, food and an appropriate habitat for them to visit or live in.
Dr Tony Saunders has written a very helpful article, full of information and tips on how to Birdscape your Garden.
Tony has also created a list of 101 Bird-attracting Plants for your garden.
BIGnet (Bird Interest Group Network)
BIGnet is an affiliation of NSW and ACT birdwatching clubs and organisations who signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2003. BIGnet brings together representatives of birding organisations in NSW to discuss issues, share knowledge, increase skills and source volunteers for projects.
BIGnet fosters co-operation among bird interest groups across a range of activities which these groups undertake, including bird surveys, bird research and conservation initiatives. It encourages exchange of information and sharing of resources.
ACT FOR BIRDS
We support Birdlife Australia’s initiative Act for Birds and their motto “We are standing together to protect birds forever”.
The 2019/20 bushfires were devastating for millions of Australian birds and the natural places that are their homes. Many species lost half of their habitat, increasing the number of threatened bird species by as much as 25%. Protecting natural places is more important than ever.
COWRA WOODLAND BIRDS PROGRAM
The Cowra Woodland Birds Program was launched in July 2001 by members of BirdLife Australia Southern NSW and local landholders and land managers to address concerns that woodland birds appear to be declining in rural landscapes in the Cowra district. Its activities involve bird surveys and monitoring of the gathered data, as well as habitat restoration and conservation.
The principal activity is conducting quarterly bird surveys on 94 sites in the district. The bird and habitat surveys to date have identified which sites are better for woodland birds and, based on these observations, the team can make a number of general recommendations for land managers interested in reversing the decline in woodland birds.
For more information, refer to the BirdLife Southern NSW projects website.
For information on the upcoming survey dates, refer to Other Activities.
BIRDLIFE SWIFT PARROT PROJECT
As you are probably aware, the State of the Environment Report recently released shows clearly that nature and the environment in Australia are in crisis. This is true for many species of plants, animals and birds.
One bird that is under threat is the Swift Parrot in particular due to the destruction of their habitat especially by the State-owned logging corporations of NSW and Tasmania.
BirdLife Australia is currently running a campaign to change the laws from allowing the destruction of Swift Parrot habitat to instead protecting the habitat of this special bird.
CAPERTEE VALLEY REGENT HONEYEATER RECOVERY PROJECT
This project is run by BirdLife Southern NSW. The Capertee Valley (about 50 km north of Lithgow), is the one of the most important known breeding areas for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater. Much of the suitable habitat within the valley has been cleared for agriculture and remaining habitat is fragmented and generally degraded.
The project forms part of a national recovery effort for this critically endangered species and undertakes activities aligned with priority actions in the national Regent Honeyeater Recovery Plan. Project activities include research, monitoring and tree-planting, which will also benefit a range of other declining and threatened woodland bird species.
For more information, refer to the BirdLife Southern NSW projects website.
For information on the upcoming tree planting dates, refer to Other Activities.
AMENDING THE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT (EPBC)
The federal EPBC Act is the principal piece of legislation that aims to protect our national environment and ensure biodiversity. The once-in-a-decade Samuel Review of the act concluded that it is not fit for purpose and needs to be substantially amended.
On 8 December 2022, the Minister for the Environment, Tanya Plibersek, released the Albanese Government's response to the review. In particular, the government has accepted the two most significant recommendations of the Samuel Review: the development of national environmental standards that will apply to all industries including native forest logging; and the creation of an independent regulator (Environment Protection Authority). However, the government's response isn't perfect, eg it doesn't include a climate trigger which means that the climate impacts of proposed coal and gas projects can continue to be ignored.
It is likely that the government's proposed amendments to the act will not be introduced to parliament until later this year so there will be plenty of opportunity for our club, in liaison with BirdLife Australia, to comment on the government's plans especially once the proposed amendments have been publicly released.
FRED CATERSON RESERVE
The Hills Shire Council is planning to destroy almost 53,000 square metres of irreplaceable bushland in Fred Caterson Reserve which is the last large piece of bushland left in the Castle Hill area. The reserve is home to many bird species and is a favourite place for club birding outings. The Council's plan significantly reduces the amount of habitat in the reserve, including large numbers of mature trees, which birds need to feed, roost and breed.
The Council's Master Plan for the reserve involves a massive upgrading of existing sporting and other facilities, an expansion of the road network, and in particular the creation of a "premier rugby union precinct" for which Eastwood Rugby Club has submitted an Expression of Interest. The need for such a precinct is unclear as there are only 350 registered rugby union players in The Hills Shire.
Our club Conservation Officer has written a letter on behalf of the club to the Mayor, Dr Peter Gangemi, expressing our strong opposition to the plans contained in the Master Plan. He has also informed all the Councillors that he has written this letter to the Mayor.
It is important that the Mayor and the Councillors realise how widespread the opposition is to the Council's plans for Fred Caterson Reserve so it would be great if as many people as possible write to him and possibly also to Councillors. There is a letter-writing guide here that will assist you to write your letter.
You can read the CBOC Submission here.
If you wish, you can follow our letter-writing guide to assist you to write your own letter to The Hills Council.
There is a also a petition opposing the Master Plan on Change.org as well as a "Save Fred Caterson Reserve" Facebook group.
PROPOSED RAISING OF THE WARRAGAMBA DAM WALL
Temperate woodlands are amongst the most threatened ecosystems in Australia because the land on which they occur is highly suited for agriculture and housing development. Two hundred years of habitat loss and fragmentation of temperate woodlands in the Greater Sydney Region and Blue Mountains has led to widespread declines in native birds, and yet the destruction of temperate woodlands goes on unabated.
A current example of this is the proposed raising of the Warragamba Dam wall ostensibly for flood mitigation purposes, but the “jury is out” on how effective such a step would be. Our Club first objected to the proposal in September 2019. If it proceeds it will result in the loss of 6,000 hectares of pristine wilderness in the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park and seriously further endanger the already threatened Regent Honeyeater. In January 2022, our Club lodged with the NSW Government a further objection to the proposed action along with support for the submission lodged by Birdlife Australia.
RAT POISON IS IMPACTING BIRDS
Owls, eagles, and other birds of prey are unnecessarily dying by ingesting rats and mice that have been poisoned. Rodenticides are poisons designed to kill pest mice and rats but they have other impacts too. Second generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR) poisons are the worst.
BirdLife Australia are asking Bunnings to remove SGARs from their shelves.
You can find information about actions that individuals can take on this issue, including a link to the BirdLife Australia petition to Bunnings, here.
SHANES PARK FERAL PREDATOR-FREE AREA
The Shanes Park Review of Environment Factors (REF) was released for comment on 30 December 2021. We have lodged with NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service comments on the REF. In principle, we support the project as feral cats and the European Red Fox are major bird predators within the Cumberland Plain and account for the loss of huge amounts of native fauna. A feral-proof fence will be constructed around the perimeter of the park after which feral vertebrates will be eliminated from the fenced area. Plans include the re-population of the park with native animals many of which have been absent from the park for some time.
However, we are concerned that 56 hollow-bearing trees will be lost to make way for the fence. Extant birds will no doubt be affected by the loss of nesting hollows through intra- and inter-species competition for remaining hollows during the breeding season.
ARNOLD MCGILL MEMORIAL LECTURE by
PROF STEPHEN GARNETT - December 2022
Birding NSW have kindly offered to share the audio of their Arnold McGill Memorial Lecture from December 2022 by Prof Stephen Garnett who is lead Author of the Action Plan for Australian Birds over four decades.
The link to the lecture is on the right and is the Audio only; there were also slides shown which are not available on this link.