Re­port sight­ings of birds

Benalla Ensign - - News -

Have you seen a Re­gent Honeyeater in your trav­els out of Be­nalla re­cently?

If so, the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Wa­ter and Plan­ning ( DELWP) and BirdLife Aus­tralia would love to hear from you.

DELWP nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment pro­gram of­fi­cer Glen John­son is call­ing on all lo­cal na­ture en­thu­si­asts to help.

‘‘We’re call­ing on mem­bers of the lo­cal com­mu­nity to keep an eye out for Re­gent Honeyeaters, and to re­port any sight­ings as soon as pos­si­ble to Birdlife Aus­tralia or DELWP, Mr John­son said.

In April last year, 101 cap­tive­bred birds were re­leased into Chiltern Mt Pi­lot Na­tional Park.

The park is home to key box and iron­bark tree species and is con­sid­ered Vic­to­ria’s premier habi­tat for Re­gent Honeyeaters.

‘‘Dry con­di­tions have re­sulted in poor flow­er­ing of Mugga Iron­bark, which is usu­ally a key nec­tar re­source for Re­gents over au­tumn and win­ter,’’ Mr John­son said.

‘‘The white box is now flow­er­ing well in some parts of the park, and across north-east Vic­to­ria and south­ern NSW, and we re­cently recorded at least four birds from the 2017 re­lease feed­ing on white box blos­som in Whorouly, 40 km south west of Chiltern.

‘‘As spring con­tin­ues Re­gent Honeyeaters may ven­ture fur­ther afield and chase nec­tar from flow­er­ing na­tives like spot­ted gum, bot­tle­brush and gre­vil­lea — or flow­er­ing rem­nant yel­low box.

‘‘And now that the weather is get­ting warmer Re­gent Honeyeaters will also be tak­ing a plunge into farm dams or drink­ing from bird baths, es­pe­cially in na­tive gar­dens with flow­er­ing plants.’’

Sight­ings of Re­gent Honeyeaters can be re­ported to Birdlife Aus­tralia’s honeyeater re­cov­ery co­or­di­na­tor Dean Ing­w­ersen and Mr John­son.

‘‘This is where the help of the lo­cal com­mu­nity be­comes cru­cial, as you can help us doc­u­ment sur­vival and Ing­w­ersen said.

‘‘Keep binoc­u­lars handy and if pos­si­ble take pho­tos, to help with bird iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and to record colour band com­bi­na­tions on each leg.

‘‘It is fan­tas­tic cap­tive-bred birds thrive in the wild.

‘‘We re­cently ob­served a bird from our 2015 re­lease dip­ping into a dam in Killawarra and an­other 2017 re­leased bird in a gar­den on the edge of the Warby Range, near Wan­garatta.

‘‘And four years ago we also had a pair of birds from the 2013 re­lease nest and pro­duce fledglings in Hamil­ton Park, about 50 km west of Chiltern-Mt Pi­lot.

‘‘A boun­ti­ful gre­vil­lia su­perb shrub in a land­holder’s back­yard was their key source of food.

‘‘All re­leased birds have unique colour bands on each leg, which en­ables in­di­vid­ual iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.’’ breed­ing,’’ to see sur­vive Mr the and

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