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.
We also have a CBOC Memorial Fund from which CBOC makes Grants to bird-related conservation initiatives.
AMENDING THE ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION ACT (EPBC)
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.
The government has started consultations with a range of environment/conservation organisations, including BirdLife Australia, and industry bodies about its proposed changes to the EPBC Act.
You can find the initial thoughts of the BirdLife participants in the consultations (the good parts and the ones that need more work) along with a petition and other ideas about how we can advocate for stronger laws to protect our birds at:
The EPBC Act is only reviewed and changed every ten years so it’s important that we take this opportunity to encourage the government to develop nature protection laws that are as strong as possible
TRACKING AUSTRALIAN PAINTED-SNIPE
Australian Painted-snipe are Australia’s rarest breeding waterbird. They are listed as globally and nationally Endangered but very little is known about them. But that is changing. A crowdfunded project, to which CBOC has made a financial contribution, is using the latest satellite and mobile phone tower technology to track their movements.
You can meet Gloria, the first ever Australian Painted-snipe to be tracked, at: https://paintedsnipe.com.au/2023/10/24/the-journey-begins-introducing-gloria/. She was caught recently near Balranald and is already giving us new insights into the secret lives of these near-mythical ghost birds. You can read the tribute from Gloria's sponsor, EnviroKey, and find some more details about her at: https://paintedsnipe.com.au/follow-the-birds/gloria-envirokey/.
And you can also learn more about these wonderful birds and the exciting tracking project and, if you’re lucky enough to spot one, where to report your sighting at: https://paintedsnipe.com.au/.
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, and also to fund research into Little Penguins on Cheyne Island in WA including looking at the threat posed to them by microplastics.
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.
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.
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.
FRED CATERSON RESERVE
The Hills Shire Council is planning to destroy over 36,000 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.