Search is on for endangered bird: GLENRAC

Can you help save the regency honeyeater from extinction?
Can you help save the regency honeyeater from extinction?

GLENRAC is inviting local birdwatchers to join an ANU professor in search for what are officially called "difficult birds".

The ANU's difficult bird research group is in the hunt for the regent honeyeater, which is now on the verge of extinction.

Between habitat degradation, predators and a lower nest success rate, the birds have seen a dramatic decline in numbers since the 70s, with only 300-500 of the animals living in the wild at the moment.

Ross Crates and his ANU team has found about a third of them, climbing trees and installing surveillance to locate between 100-150 live birds in three years.

"We found birds in the Capertee and Goulburn River valleys near Mudgee, the lower Hunter Valley near Cessnock and near Barraba in the Northern Tablelands," he said.

"We also found important new breeding areas in the Severn River in Northern New South Wales and the Burragorang Valley in the Southern Blue Mountains, south-east of Sydney."

A road show, set to start in Armidale on October 22, will travel to Glen Innes the next day.

The team's groundbreaking observational discoveries, such as the overpopulation of male to female honeyeaters at a rate of six to one, and the successful production of offspring from only one in three nests, will be vital in assisting recovery teams like the ANU, BirdLife Australia and the Taronga Zoo, in improving their methods to save the regent honeyeater from extinction.

"Although breeding success appears to have declined, we found the survival of nests varied dramatically among sites. In some areas, 80 per cent were successful. In others, less than 20 per cent fledged young, with predators being the main cause of failure."

"There are birds still out in the wild trying to breed every year. We now have a much better idea of where they are trying to nest and so we can focus on protecting and restoring the breeding habitat in critical places to directly benefit the birds.

"If we are to have any chance of saving regent honeyeaters from extinction, we must act now. We must protect all existing breeding habitat, restore lost breeding habitat and protect nests."

This free event is jointly funded through the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and the Australian Government's National landcare program.

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