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Arctic birds face disappearing breeding grounds as climate warms

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Catch the white-bellied sea eagles on EagleCAM at Sydney Olympic Park

THE story of a pair of white-bellied sea eagles at Sydney Olympic Park could make the script for a modern-day fairytale.

The story starts when the park’s resident male lost his partner at the end of February.

As a threatened species, there were fears he may not find another lifelong friend.

The sea eagle’s partner had been in the park since 2008, and the pair had raised an average of one young to fledging each year.

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Flying for their lives

"Every year, millions of shorebirds fly between Australasia and the Arctic. But for many, this will be their last flight."

ABC Radio presenter Ann Jones write of the plight of shorebirds in the East Asian - Australian flyway. Read this outstanding article at the ABC News website. Includes links to the audio of the 3-part special series, which has just been presented as part of the Off Track program.

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Arctic tern makes longest ever migration – equal to flying twice around the planet

A tiny bird from the Farne Islands off Northumberland has clocked up the longest migration ever recorded. The Arctic tern’s meandering journey to Antarctica and back saw it clock up 59,650 miles, more than twice the circumference of the planet.

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Australia's largest cockatoo threatened by bauxite mining

Proposed mines to produce aluminium are putting the habitat of vulnerable Cape York palm cockatoo at risk, sparking calls for stronger environmental laws.

Read more at The Guardian website.

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Flying for your life: The journey begins

Every year, millions of birds make a monumental journey between their breeding grounds in arctic tundra and their wintering grounds in Australasia.

Some birds migrate 11,000km straight over the seas without stopping, through the nights, days, storms and lulls – they are truly a wonder of the natural world.

But shorebird populations are plummeting, with seven of Australia's 37 Migratory waders on the Commonwealth's list of threatened species.

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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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