One of the major conservation actions for Bush Stone-curlews in southern Australia is population supplementation – the release of captive-bred birds into the wild. Such intervention has proved successful at a number of sites (eg. Mulligans Flat, ACT; Nature Conservation Working Group, NSW; Perth, WA) and is the focus of Trust for Nature’s curlew conservation program in the Koonda Hills.
Several techniques have been used to identify and monitor released curlews, including leg bands, leg flags and radio-tracking. Radio-tracking technology has improved significantly in recent years through miniaturization, incorporation of solar charging to extend transmitter life and use of GSM technology. Though previously used to monitor Bush Stone-curlew releases (South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia), radio-tracking has generally used VHF transmitters attached to birds for relatively short periods (weeks & months). The ability to monitor the location of released curlews with GPS accuracy and for extended periods (months & years) would vastly improve assessment of release program success and contribute significantly to our understanding of the ecology of this fascinating and, surprisingly, poorly understood species.
Trust for Nature has recently partnered with Moonlit Sanctuary, on the Mornington Peninsula, to develop a radio-tracking harness, carrying a solar-assisted tracker, for Bush Stone-curlews. Continue reading