Late May 2016 saw bird enthusiasts and others come together at the University Club, University of Western Australia, to celebrate the release of the ‘Birds of the Great Western Woodlands’ report by BirdLife Australia and The Nature Conservancy.
Although the Great Western Woodlands (GWW) covers 16 million hectares little was known about the region’s birds. In 2011 BirdLife and TNC established a project to address this knowledge gap. Over the next 3 years, hundreds of skilled volunteers conducted 4,374 bird surveys from 231 sites across the region. As a result, 182 species of bird were recorded, which is 85% of the 214 bird species ever recorded in the GWW region. Even more impressively, the surveys showed that for most species, bird populations of the GWW appear to be abundant, resilient and stable. This is attributable to the size and relative intactness of the GWW. With large, relatively undisturbed tracts of mature woodland across the region, bird populations have the ability to move across the landscape in response to the conditions.
This project has built a solid foundation for ongoing, long-term bird monitoring in the GWW. Congratulations to all involved, particularly Liz Fox and Shapelle McNee. The work was supported by The Nature Conservancy’s David Thomas Challenge and individual supporters from BirdLife Australia.