Wings on King is a bird-monitoring project that will be officially launched in April, 2017. It is the initiative of the KINRMG and operates under an MOU with BirdLife Australia. It is being developed and undertaken entirely by volunteers. While its broad aim is to use the bush birds of King Island as an indicator of the sustainability of King Island as a whole, a particular focus will be placed on monitoring the four listed threatened subspecies. These are the:
* King Island Scrubtit (Critically Endangered)
* King Island Brown Thornbill (Critically Endangered),
* King Island Green Rosella (Vulnerable)
* King Island Black Currawong (Vulnerable)
This threatened species monitoring was begun in 2015 with an island blitz, where an attempt was made to count the actual population of both the KI Rosella and Currawong. This information was submitted to the government and contributed towards both of these species being listed as Vulnerable later in 2015. See this article for more information.
Further monitoring within Wings on King will have two arms:
1) regular monitoring of fixed sites situated within the known habitat of all four threatened species – at least annually and hopefully quarterly
2) Blitz weekends every three years where these fixed sites plus extra fixed sites, will be monitored twice, once each on two weekends one week apart. The broad community will also be asked to tell us of any they see over these two weekends.
For more information about Wings on King go to click here
The King Island Green Rosella and the King Island Black Currawong may be becoming extinct. They are both subspecies of Tasmanian native species that live only on King Island. They exist nowhere else in the world. KINRM will work with Wings on King and BOKI to count these birds during Autumn 2015, for more info
Scrubtit (King Island) endangered critically endangered
Brown Thornbill (King Island) endangered endangered
Green Rosella (King Island) vulnerable not listed yet
Yellow Wattlebird (King Island) not listed yet
Black Currawong not listed yet
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
This project, running from November 2003 to November 2004 has been made possible through the contribution and financial support of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program as a joint initiative of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia and the Australian Government's Natural Heritage Trust.
The Threatened Birds project is the brainchild of bird ecologist and conservation enthusiast, Richard Donaghey. Richard has done many weeks of volunteer and Bushcare / Land for Wildlife work for King Island already. He was the editor and major contributor to The Fauna of King Island. A guide to identification and conservation management (2003).
Richard is the technical consultant for this project, and as such has visited the island twice, and contributed several weeks of his time since the project began.
We must express our gratitude to Richard, and also to the many other volunteers on this project. Thank you!!
King Island has a high proportion of threatened and declining forest birds, especially those that depend on tree-hollows for nesting. The three listed endemic species are the critically endangered Scrubtit, the endangered Brown Thornbill and the vulnerable Green Rosella. This project will provide the King Island community Threatened Bird Network with the skills and techniques to monitor population size and protect critical habitat of threatened species.
King Island in western Bass Strait once had extensive Tasmanian blue gum forest but now has lost about 70% of its native vegetation through clearance for agriculture and fires. Only about 5% of the original Tall swamp paperbark forest and Tasmanian blue gum forest remain. Many King Islanders have fostered a conservation ethic and although they have fenced off and protected large amounts of remaining forest and streams, many forest birds are threatened and declining.
The 2000 Action Plan for Australian Birds (APAB) identified 7 threatened bird species on King Island that need an integrated conservation plan. Five of these taxa are endemic to KI. Two of these, the Scrubtit and Brown Thornbill, are listed nationally and in Tasmania as endangered. The Green Rosella (KI) is listed as vulnerable in Tas. Recent fieldwork on KI has identified many other birds in decline including hollow-dependent birds such as Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Southern Boobook and Striated Pardalote.
The primary focus of this project is to recover the listed threatened birds with community action. The critical habitat for the endemic Scrubtit (KI) is the Nook Swamp, Lavinia State Reserve. Recent surveys failed to find Scrubtit at any of the other localities mentioned in the APAB. The good news is that Scrubtit have survived in the Nook Swamp paperbarks despite recent large scale burning of the surrounding landscape. There is an urgent need to determine the population size of the Scrubtit in Lavinia SR and search for another population at other sites in the south of the island. The endangered Brown Thornbill (KI) has been observed recently at Pegarah SF so the population size needs to be determined and its habitat secured. The vulnerable Green Rosella is one of a suite of species that depends on old growth eucalypts with tree-hollows for nesting. The small brown endangered Scrubtit and Brown Thornbill are inconspicuous and restricted in distribution. By comparison the conspicuous and widespread Green Rosella can be used as an umbrella species for all hollow-dependent birds.
Administer a KI Threatened Bird Network to coordinate species recovery
Produce and distribute brochures on KI threatened birds to all KI landholders and urban residents
Train volunteers in threatened species identification and bird monitoring techniques and reporting
Determine population size of critically endangered Scrubtit, endangered Brown Thornbill and vulnerable Green Rosella and secure habitat.
Identify and protect nest-trees with hollows of Green Rosella and monitor nesting success.
Erect, manage and monitor nest-boxes for Green Rosella and monitor nesting success.
Activities of the Threatened Bird project
We have 37 members in the Threatened Species Network so far, and growing.
Activities included: Field days identifying and recording focus birds, extensive searches in likely areas for scrubtit, mapping, looking at designs for nestboxes and starling traps.
One of the threats to hollow-nesting birds is the European starling. To obtain a design for a starling trap, contact King Island NRM Group.
The brochure Are we losing our native birds on King Island? contains further details of this project.