Woodland bird monitoring program
The Mount Lofty Ranges woodland bird monitoring program is a collaborative long-term project initiated by Queensland University’s Hugh Possingham’s research group, managed by the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia (NCSSA) and supported by Natural Resources Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges (AMLR).
The program has run annually since 1999. It looks for evidence of declines in woodland birds through repeated surveys of over 150 sites throughout the Mount Lofty Ranges.
While occasional surveys may be sufficient to keep track of more stable bird populations, those populations that tend to fluctuate are best monitored annually. This program represents one of the few long-term regional-scale studies of a group of bird species in Australia.
Continuity is very important to the success of this long-term monitoring program. Natural Resources AMLR, NCSSA and University of Queensland are very grateful to property owners who allow access to the sites year after year.
How the surveys are conducted
Expert bird surveyors record all birds seen and heard within a two hectare site during three 20-minute visits. This repetition helps to estimate observation error rates, which is crucial to determining statistically whether birds are declining. The sites are then resurveyed annually to look for trends in the distribution and abundance of birds in response to a changing environment and broader scale ecosystem management.
Why are the surveys done?
The data collected helps to improve our understanding of Mount Lofty Ranges bird species’ habitat preferences. This includes site-level preferences, like habitat type and structure, and landscape-level preferences, like patch size and shape. The data is also very useful for guiding habitat restoration programs and for measuring the success of habitat restoration and rehabilitation efforts.
University of Queensland
Nature Conservation Society of South Australia; Australian Research Council ; University of Adelaide