After the devastating Black Summer fires in Australia early last year, up to 80% of the natural bird habitats on Kangaroo Island have been lost. The app Birdata is being used to monitor native bird species in order to protect and repopulate them.
Kangaroo Island is home to more than 260 native birds, with 17 species found only on the island. The app, designed by Birdlife Australia, is helping educate and engage local schools. Private landholders and community group volunteers are also joining in monitoring these birds. These efforts are made possible by a $50,000 funding support from Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants.
“Involving the community in this work is vital, and with this funding from Landcare, we will develop resources to educate the island’s school children about the birds that are special to Kangaroo Island and what to look out for when they take part in surveys with our specially designed app Birdata.” – Janelle Thomas, BirdLife Australia’s Preventing Extinctions Project Coordinator.
Of the bird species on the island, the Kangaroo Island Southern Emu-wren, Kangaroo Island Whipbird and Western Bassian Thrush have been particularly affected. The app is helping ensure these populations avoid extinction and can to recover.
“These cryptic birds were flagged as a high priority due to significant habitat loss, their sedentary nature and significantly lower ability to disperse during the fires, all of which have fragmented their populations,” explained Ms. Thomas.
Getting Involved with Birdlife
Birdata allows Birdlife Australia to collaboratively and scientifically collect data, used to gain knowledge about Australian birds in conservation. By making an account on Birdata, you can begin contributing to surveys across the country.
If you or anyone you know is looking for funding, the Australian Government is giving $14 million in Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants for projects in regions impacted by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019–20. Click here for more information.