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Bird is the word with waterbird citizen scientists called upon

By Ed McLeish

Don’t you know that the bird is the word?

The Goulburn Broken Catchment is a hotspot for bird life, and Birdlife Australia is calling on people to join the flock as waterbird citizen scientists, with an information session held at Shepparton Senior Citizens Centre on February 1.

Birdlife Australia wetland program coordinator Bradley Clarke-Wood said the session would cover the significance and importance of environmental water to birds and wetland health, identifying monitoring birds and wetlands, and most importantly, light refreshments.

“For us, this is a great opportunity to reconnect with our local members at the Birdlife Murray-Goulburn but also the broader community, for whom these wetlands are so important,” he said.

“Any opportunity to collaborate with the community around a scientific project, which aims to understand and demonstrate the ecological benefits of delivering environmental water to wetlands for birds in northern Victoria is special.”

“I’m excited also by the opportunity for knowledge exchange - there is a wealth of knowledge about these systems in the Shepparton region and I expect to learn a lot from the participants.”

Although Australia is one of the driest continents, it has extensive wetland systems that support a diverse and stunning assemblage of waterbird species.

In the catchment, over 200 bird species have been recorded occupying more than 2000 natural wetlands, which cover approximately 86 000 ha.

Mr Clarke-Wood said although birds from as far as Russia and Alaska made it to the catchment, many species and their habitats were subject to increasing threats.

“This is where Shepparton comes in - by monitoring their trends we can identify conservation priorities and seek to halt declines,” he said.

“The broader Shepparton community is in the best position to provide key insights into their wetlands and build on our understanding of how birds respond to water for the environment.”

●The information session is on Saturday, February 1; 1.30-3.30 pm theory session (indoors), 3.30–5.30 pm field session (local wetlands). Greater Shepparton Senior Citizens Centre , 132 Welsford St, Shepparton. RSVP to Bradley Clarke-Wood on [email protected]

Refreshments will be provided. Please bring sunscreen, water and appropriate footwear. For more information, visit www.birdlife.org.au

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