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Students discover historic bird band

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Tracking Latham's snipe migration from Japan to southern Australia

At the length of a school ruler and weighing only 200 grams, flying 8,000 kilometres from Japan to Australia would be no easy feat.

Yet every summer thousands of Latham's snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) migrate from Hokkaido in northern Japan to south-eastern Australia.

The birds arrive in Australia between August and September and feed in shallow wetlands along the eastern seaboard before returning to Japan for their breeding season in March and April.

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The launching of the shearwaters in Coffs Harbour

Each night for the next three weeks, a crew of volunteers on the Mid North coast of NSW are braving all weather to save baby birds.

Around 15 Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) volunteers take turns to walk the coastline through the night, looking for fledgling wedge-tailed shearwaters that have lost their way.

Volunteer Claudia Nevell spends nights awake looking after the baby birds. She said the three-week period was tiring but rewarding.

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Australian swift parrot listed as critically endangered

The Australian Government has listed the iconic Tasmanian swift parrot as critically endangered, lifting its status from endangered, following research by The Australian National University (ANU).

Dr Dejan Stojanovic from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society is part of a team that published the 2015 research which found the swift parrot could be extinct in as little as 16 years.He welcomed the reclassification, which he said should provide greater protection for Tasmanian bird.

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The lab rat with feathers

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Tracking the nighttime travels of the cryptic powerful owl

How much space does a powerful owl need to live the good life in Melbourne's suburbs? Researchers trapping and tagging up to 10 of Australia's largest owl species are about to find out.

The notoriously shy bird of prey with its startled "what are you looking at?" eyes is traditionally a forest species, though they are known to live around the green wedges and parks of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. However, little is known about their nighttime travel habits in urban areas, making conservation work a challenge.

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Australia’s waterbirds are disappearing – but nuclear physics can help save them

The loss of wetlands has serious implications for wildlife. Many species are wetland-dependent throughout their lives while others, such as some species of waterbirds, rely on wetlands as places to breed.

Knowing which wetlands waterbirds use when they aren’t breeding will help us figure out which places we need to protect. So the Centre for Ecosystem Science, UNSW and the Australian Nuclear Science Technology Organisation have developed a new technique to analyse Australian bird feathers using nuclear physics.

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Project underway to save critically endangered migratory birds in Port Macquarie

A couple from the New South Wales mid north coast has been awarded a Federal Government grant to rehabilitate an island crucial to critically endangered migratory birds.

Sue Proust and Peter West, from the Camden Haven area, have received $23,000 to fund work to restore and regenerate Port Macquarie's Pelican Island.

Located in the Hastings River, Pelican Island is part of the National Parks and Wildlife Service Woregore Nature Reserve.

It provides habitat for rare and endangered northern hemisphere birds to feed and rest during migration.

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Floating island to be installed to attract migratory birds

In a first for regional New South Wales a floating island will be installed this Friday in Orange to attract and provide habitat for migratory birds.

The habitat pontoon, to be installed on the reservoir at the Gosling Creek Reserve, an environmentally focussed recreation area on Forest Road south of Orange, is a joint project between Orange City Council, Central Tablelands Local Land Services, and the Environment and Waterways Alliance.

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CSIRO Australian National Wildlife Collection shares story of evolving birds

In Gil Pfitzner's expert hands a tiny bar-breasted honeyeater weighing no more than 10 grams is prepared to join a comprehensive collection of Australian birds.

A preparator at the CSIRO's Australian National Wildlife Collection at Gungahlin, Mr Pfitzner cleans the honeyeater's grey feathers by blowing pressurised air through them. He turns the skin inside out, removing fat to freeze for future research, along with its tiny organs.Gil Pfitzner works on a preserving a small bar-breasted honeyeater.

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Rare Australian bird farms nourishing manna from trees

An endangered Tasmanian songbird doesn’t have to wait for manna from heaven: it goes out and gathers its own.

The forty-spotted pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) is the first Australian bird found to deliberately encourage trees to release manna, a sugary crystallised sap. In doing so it not only provides food for its young but might also engineer the environment in a way that benefits other Tasmanian animals.

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Research points to Australian birds of prey using bushfires to their advantage

Preliminary research from an ornithologist in the Northern Territory suggests that Australian birds of prey actually spread fires in order to force their prey out into the open, as Courtney Wilson reports.

Listen to or download the interview, or read the transcript, at ABC Online.

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The bird woman of Black Mountain tells a powerful story

Unlike most of us, including the majority of parents I know, Canberra's Penny Olsen has made a lasting contribution to the biological richness and diversity of the blue planet.

A renowned bird expert and author, the Black Hill resident initiated a program to preserve the Norfolk Island subspecies of the southern boobook owl 30 years ago.

Ms Olsen does more than make history however. Her latest project has involved popularising knowledge of the evolving perceptions of Australian predatory birds since the arrival of Europeans.

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Hot weather 'causes Australian zebra finch eggs to hatch earlier than normal'

Very hot weather causes the eggs of Australia's desert-dwelling zebra finch to hatch earlier than normal, research has found.

This upsets the normal competition between baby birds and means some do not get enough food to survive, researchers say.

A new study, published in the Royal Society journal Open Science, is the first to show how hot weather can affect the incubation of a bird species, Macquarie University ecologist professor Simon Griffith said.

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When it storms, where do the birds go?

When rain, hail or lightning hits, we typically run for shelter indoors and wrap up in cosy attire. But what happens to birds?

Well, they "batten down the hatches too", according to Birdlife Australia manager Dr Holly Parsons.

"A bit of rain doesn't worry many birds but in a particularly bad storm, birds are going to seek some shelter — so they're going to pop up on your back deck," she said.

"They're going to find some dense shrubs and they'll be going into trees close to tree trunks and holding on tight."

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Why some female birds don't sing...

When you hear a bird warbling, you probably think the crooner is a male. And chances are if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you would be right. But females also evolved to sing, and many still do—although generally less than the males. One reason may be that it’s more dangerous for them to sing especially when nesting, scientists report today. At least, that’s the case for female fairywrens, the most vocal of which are the most likely to have their eggs and chicks eaten.

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Plovers’ season breeds dismay

PROTECTORS of the endangered hooded plover are documenting senseless acts by beachgoers that are threatening breeding birds.

The plovers each year struggle to breed on Mornington Peninsula beaches with an ever decreasing number of their chicks ever taking flight.

Dr Grainne Maguire of BirdLife Australia’s beach-nesting birds’ team said data shows that without preventative action hooded plovers will be extinct in the region “in the next 25 years”.

 

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