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State of Australia's Birds report released: common birds facing declines

BirdLife Australia has today released the 2015 State of Australia’s Birds Headline Report that shows a number of Australia’s best-loved birds species are declining in some regions. 

Launched today at Melbourne Museum by Environment Minister the Hon Greg Hunt MP, this report is part of Australia’s most comprehensive series tracking bird populations and health.

“Birds tell us a lot about our natural world,” said Paul Sullivan, CEO of BirdLife Australia.

“The Australian Bird Index is a nationwide health-check of Australia’ s birds and their environments. 

“Most surprising, this report shows , in some regions, declining numbers of common birds like the willy wagtail, kookaburra and magpie-lark.  These are birds that many Australians take interact with daily.

“We’ve known for some time that many rare bird populations are declining, but we were not aware of the decline of these very common and iconic Australian birds. 

“This data is a wakeup call.  BirdLife Australia and the scientific community will now look at what is causing decline of common species numbers.  

“Another concerning trend is the decline in numbers of birds of prey in the Arid Zones of South Australia, Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland.  Raptors – such as  falcons, owls and eagles - play a critical predator role in Arid Zone ecosystems, so we must invest in conservation initiatives.

“The report is an outstanding achievement for citizen science.  The data we rely on is collected by passionate bird-lovers all around Australia.  Volunteers use standardised methods to monitor bird species in their own local areas and contribute their findings to the Index, allowing us to map a nation-wide picture.

“Since 1998 this army of volunteers have amassed over 14 million records and more than 900,000 surveys.  That is a truly unique accomplishment and contribution to global bird conservation.  Similar indexes in Europe, Canada and the US show us it is possible to set  a baseline and act early to reduce biodiversity loss,” said Mr Sullivan.

To download a copy of the report, go to http://birdlife.org.au/state-of-birds/

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