The Tatiara’s bush stone curlew population has a new group of friends.
Prompted by concerns about the very low numbers of the cryptic bush birds, members of the Mundulla and Bordertown communities have formed Curlew Friends, a group dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting awareness of the rare species.
Newly elected president Karen Hunt says bush stone curlews can best be described as one of nature’s best disappearing acts.
“These birds, even though they are quite large, are rarely seen because their colouring blends in so perfectly with the bushland around them,” she said. “Because they are mainly nocturnal, it’s a lot easier to hear their eerie cry than to actually catch a glimpse of them.”
The group has decided to focus their efforts initially on identifying and monitoring the curlew populations around Bordertown and Mundulla.
“We have good evidence that some birds remain in those areas,” Mrs Hunt said. “But there is a huge amount we don’t know about these populations, so observations and reporting will be one of our main priorities.”
Other aims will be to gather as much data as possible from sturdies that have previously been conducted in the area as well as personal observations, and eventually to catch and band chicks in the hope that they can be tracked as they move away from the nest.
Numbers of bush stone curlews have been declining in the southern parts of Australia for many years as land use changes and their natural habitat is destroyed, however birds in the northern parts have shown a remarkable ability to adapt and flourish in an urban environment.
Anyone with information on bush stone curlews in the Mundulla or Bordertown area can call Mrs Hunt on 0437 487 687.