BirdLife Australia loves its volunteers
At BirdLife Australia we often boast about our ‘army of volunteers’, and we’re justly proud of what we have achieved together. Without the formidable contribution from our many volunteers, so many of Australia’s threatened birds would have flown under the radar, and would be silently heading towards extinction.
BirdLife Australia’s vast Birdata database is filled with information contributed by volunteers. Thank you. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to advise the Australian government about the decline in the population of Australasian Bitterns, for instance. As a result of our informed advocacy, the species was classified as Endangered, and it now has all the protection that goes with being recognised as a threatened species.
Without our volunteers’ input, the bitterns would have no safeguards at all. It’s the same with Curlew Sandpipers, Great Knots, Eastern Curlews. Thanks to data collected during BirdLife Australia’s Shorebirds 2020 surveys, all these shorebirds have been classified as Critically Endangered in recent years. And how was the data collected? By volunteers, of course!
Although volunteers help us keep tabs on how Australia’s birds are faring, volunteering is not all about counting threatened black-cockatoos or looking for rare parrots. Dedicated volunteers protect the nests of Hooded Plovers on our ocean beaches, remove invasive weeds from the breeding colonies of Little Terns, and help revegetate farmland for Regent Honeyeaters.
As you know, volunteers don’t even have to go outside to contribute. The annual Easter Health-check of Australia’s 315 Key Biodiversity Areas is undertaken by volunteers—it’s all done online, without having to leave the comforts of home. Volunteers also help the Powerful Owl project discover what these nocturnal birds have been eating, by examining the contents of their pellets (it’s much, much more fun than it sounds). And some of our most successful advocacy campaigns have been spearheaded by volunteers.
There are so many ways to become a volunteer. However our volunteers contribute, whether it’s by manning a stall at a festival, trudging through the saltmarsh in search of Orange-bellied Parrots, helping us vet data on a database or contacting a local member of parliament, they provide so many of the pieces which make up the jigsaw that is bird conservation in Australia.
And for that, we thank every one of our volunteers—we couldn’t do it without you.
Image: Carole Doherty surveying Muddy Swamp for Wings on King, King Island by Fiona Blandford