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KEN SIMPSON 1938-2014

What man would have himself lowered into "the long drop" at Macquarie Island to recover a curious bird? The long drop is a 10-metre latrine used when the water supply to the toilet block becomes frozen. That man was Ken Simpson, one of Australia's most outstanding naturalists and author of the highly acclaimed Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. The year was 1965.'s picture

Round aviary reshapes rehabilitation for birds of prey

While hunting, a peregrine falcon stoops at around 300km/h.

"If everything [in their makeup] is not absolutely perfect, they can't maintain those speeds, they can't maintain their hunting rates and they die," Peggy McDonald says.

Meeting the specific needs of raptors is a challenge she loves.

She's been rehabilitating and releasing birds of prey for more than 20 years and considers it a privilege to be so close to birds that are usually seen from kilometres away.'s picture

Last ditch plea to protect pine forest adopted by Carnaby's black cockatoos

Conservationists have made a last ditch plea to the federal government to intervene to help prevent a species of cockatoo from becoming extinct due to the felling of its habitat.

Research  by BirdLife Australia found there are 3,922 Carnaby’s black cockatoos  in the large Gnangara pine plantation, north of Perth. This equates to around 10% of the global population of this endangered cockatoo.'s picture

The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit

From Roman classics to British tabloids, humans have long celebrated the curious and remarkable ability of birds to imitate the sounds of humans and other animals. A recent surge of research is revealing how and why birds use vocal mimicry to further their own interests, as we discuss in Biological Reviews.

Far from being merely a biological curiosity, it appears that vocal mimicry plays a more central role in the lives of birds than we have given them credit for.'s picture

Saving the Regent Honeyeater project showing results

A long-running project to re-establish habitat for the rare Regent Honeyeater is showing positive results, thanks to dedication of volunteers and community members over the past 21 years. 

Volunteers from Birdlife Australia and Taronga Zoo, as well as local residents and landowners gather in May and August every year to plant trees for the Regent Honeyeater and other threatened bird species. 

Now, Regent Honeyeaters have been officially recorded for the first time on one of the earlier planted sites.'s picture

Finding new nests for birds threatened by climate change

Rufous Scrub-birds have been calling loudly from the mountains of eastern Australia ever since Australia parted from Gondwana 65 million years ago. They are still there today – as noisy as ever, though incredibly difficult to see – but perhaps not for much longer.

Models predict that the climate of places like the Lamington Plateau in southeast Queensland will change to something quite unlike what is there at the moment. That is one of the scenarios described in the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for Australian Birds.'s picture

Slick solution as volunteers learn how to save oiled birds

Oil spills at sea can be devastating for seabirds, but a team of freshly trained Illawarra wildlife rescuers are ready to help save and clean our feathered friends.

Australia's first modified shipping container to clean oiled sea birds was in Port Kembla today to help train volunteers.

The course coincided with the launch of a First Responders Resource Guide for Seabird Emergencies book, pocket guide and DVD produced by Australian Sea Bird Rescue .'s picture

Pelicans at risk from anglers

SOUTH Australia's recreational fishermen are more likely to accidently snag pelicans than any other marine birds, according to new research.

A study of 113 seabirds treated over a six-year period for 132 fishing-related injuries has been conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide's School of Medical Sciences and the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation (AMWRRO).

They've found that, contrary to public belief, "live" tackle being used by fishermen is resulting in the bird injuries, not tackle that's been thrown away.'s picture

Scientist tracks eagles soaring to incredible heights

A young West Australian biologist is tracking wedge-tailed eagles to discover more about their range and flying habits.

Simon Cherriman is passionate about Australian wildlife, and his research focuses on the iconic wedge-tailed eagle. He has been studying the huge birds of prey for a number of years, but over the past twelve months he started a project that fulfilled a boyhood dream: tracking wedge-tailed eagles.

"I always wanted to know where eagles went when I wasn't watching them," he explains.'s picture

Towra bird habitat in decline

A DECLINE in migratory birds using Towra Point Nature Reserve because of weed infestation and shoreline changes is an international embarrassment to Australia, experts say.

The reserve is in danger of receiving a second Grey Globe award, which is given to Ramsar Convention-protected wetlands throughout the world, which are considered to be "under threat". This award, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Blue Globe that is awarded to sites in outstanding condition, was given to Towra Point at the last World Wetland Network conference in Bucharest in 2012.'s picture

Jim Smart's feathered friends

On the wall is a water painting of a princess parrot – “very rare” – next to a picture of some fairy wrens.

Spread out on the floor are a dozen A3 sized photographs of birds taken from bushland around Kurri, that will be presented at the next meeting of the Hunter Bird Observer Club.

The book shelves sag under the weight. No, there’s no sign of John Grisham or Ken Follett or Tim Winton here, but reference books of birds – mostly Australian bird books, but sprinkled in among them are books on birds from New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia, India and England.'s picture

Tim Low in Conversation with Richard Fidler

Naturalist Tim Low says Australian birds are noisier, more aggressive and more intelligent than in any other country in the world.

Tim is a biologist, environmentalist and prize-winning writer, and co-editor of Wildlife Australia magazine.

His latest book reveals some startling facts about the unique nature of Australian birds - they are distinctive and powerful, and exert more influence on forests than any other birds.'s picture

Noisy Miners create havoc in backyards with pets and wildlife as mating season sets in

They love a biff with other birds, don’t mind a crack at the neighborhood dog and boy do they make a racket during dating season.

Noisy Miner birds get a little bit crazy during mating season but never fear — you can turn down the volume. The native birds breed from June to December, and the amount of noise they make increases significantly over the period as they compete for mates and protect their territory, according to the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife (FNPW).'s picture

Push to protect malleefowl continues

Property owners are invited to join the fight to protect a unique and threatened bird that makes its home in Dubbo's backyard.

The malleefowl is present in the Goonoo National Park and other areas of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, but its habitat was once much larger.

A recovery team has invited property owners to come along to a gathering of experts, researchers and enthusiasts from across the country at Dubbo to focus on strengthening the numbers of the bird listed as endangered in NSW.'s picture

National workshop highlights plight of hooded plovers in the south-west

THE south-west’s contribution to halting the decline of the hooded plover has been highlighted at a national workshop in Warrnambool about beach-nesting birds.

Birdlife Australia’s beach-nesting birds project manager Dr Grainne Maguire said a big volunteer effort to protect the nests of the vulnerable birds had allowed 25 chicks from nests along the coast between Warrnambool and Yambuk to survive this year.

The survivors included one chick from a nest at Lady Bay and two from nests at Logans Beach.'s picture

The art of endangered birds: Perth exhibition highlights threatened species

Egg Tooth, an exhibition at Edith Cowan University has invited Western Australian artists to create works based on threatened species of birds.

Money raised from the sale of the works will go to Birdlife WA, an advocacy group for native birds.

"We've brought together around 40 local artists and I've allocated each artist a threatened or endangered bird to make a work in response to," curator Elizabeth Marruffo said.'s picture

Woodland bird expert at Ararat workshop

A leading bird expert will conduct a workshop in Ararat, to help people with various identification tips and survey methods of woodland birds.

Woodland bird expert Dean Ingerwersen is visiting Ararat to deliver a one day workshop as part of the Glenelg Hopkins CMA Woodland Birds project, which aims to protect woodland habitat.'s picture

The 10 top Australian birds to see on holidays

FROM Phillip Island’s famous Penguin Parade to little-known and rarely spotted species, enjoying Australia’s birdlife can be a holiday highlight, even if you’re not an experienced birdwatcher.

From eastern rainforests to Central Australia’s deserts, and rural farmlands to urban parks, Australia is home to about 900 unique bird species.

Here, the authors of new book Finding Australian Birds , Tim Dolby and Rohan Clarke, list their 10 bucket list highlights for the most amazing birds to see in Australia - and where to find them.'s picture

Bird surveys around Grenfell now in their fourth year

The sixth bird survey around Grenfell took place on March 29. Local bird watchers from Grenfell joined members of Birding NSW from Sydney, Wollongong and Dubbo to count all the bird species seen during 20 minutes at 26 sites around Grenfell; 10 sites are on private property and the remainder on public roads.

We started these surveys in 2011 and we have identified 125 different species of birds around Grenfell during our surveys so far; there are certain to be more species to see.'s picture

Giblet-warming sequel to Harrison's magpie saga

Magpie-loving Canberrans! Can it be that some of that hard-to-put-into-words fondness and admiration we have for magpies is a cousin of what lots of Australians admire about Ned Kelly?'s picture

Watchers flock to see birds

International bird watchers will soon be flocking to the Dubbo region with the introduction of the Macquarie River Trails bird watching map. The map, launched by non-for-profit organisation RiverSmart Australia in Dubbo yesterday, highlights 13 sites and five driving trails which broadly follow the river from Lake Burrendong to the Macquarie Marshes, stopping through cities along the river. Find out more on the Daily Liberal website.'s picture

Fish waste link to bird deaths

FISH waste left on beaches by recreational fishers could harm shore-nesting birds by attracting native crows that eat the birds' eggs, a University of NSW study conducted on Stockton Beach has revealed. Researchers found the activity of Australian ravens was 17 times higher near nests that had fish carcasses nearby, than near nests without carcasses. The study also revealed that foxes were not the culprits in loss of eggs from nests, as is often assumed. Read the full story on the Newca's picture

Newsworthy wildlife and the harlot in the garden

Here is a picture of a King parrot gnawing a medlar in a Wanniassa garden but before we discuss it we note that Monday's Canberra Times was adorned with the story of another bird, a fledgling magpie.'s picture

Science Article Solves Big Bird Mystery

South Australian Museum Senior Researcher Dr Mike Lee, and Research Associate Trevor Worthy, are part of a team of researchers who have rewritten the evolutionary history of giant flightless birds called ratites, and solved the mystery of how they migrated across the globe after the mass extinction of dinosaurs. Until now, the closest relatives of the New Zealand Kiwi were thought to be the Australian emu and cassowary.'s picture

Twenty endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos released into the wild

TWENTY endangered Carnaby’s cockatoos that have spent up to a year rehabilitating from car strikes and other trauma have been released into the wild. The birds, which are endemic to Western Australia, were released from The Vines and Kensington last week. Department of Parks and Wildlife officer Karen Smith said all the cockatoos had been hit by cars or suffered another trauma that prevented them from being able to fly. They have been rehabilitated at the Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre in Martin and the Native Animal Rescue centre in Malaga. 


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