Have you seen a robin lately?

Larry Wakefield, of BirdLife Mornington Peninsula has written an interesting if somewhat alarming update on the state of robin populations on the peninsula, and a plea for use of Birdata to track the numbers of these endearing birds.

“Well, of course, I see robins on the Peninsula, you say. I just have to wander into any reserve and I’ll get on to an Eastern Yellow Robin without fail. Common? Of course they are common! But what about seeing other species of robin on the Peninsula? What is the state of play of them? Should they be here, are they getting rare, and was there more variety in the past?

Including the Eastern Yellow Robin, potentially there are seven species of robin that could be seen on the Peninsula. Two of those were present in the past and have become extinct, and possibly a third has recently disappeared. The other three species are visitors of one sort or another and their numbers and presence on the Peninsula may be affected by how well they are faring in their breeding habitats elsewhere.

The other resident species that should be on the Peninsula is the Scarlet Robin. This bird lives in eucalypt forest and woodland with an open understory, a habitat we have on the Peninsula. However, the species has declined in numbers over the years. Before 2000, it was recorded regularly, up to 10 sightings/year. From 2000-2010, sightings became fewer and were centred on localities at Bald Hill Reserve, Greens Bush, Devilbend Reserve and Bulldog Creek Rd. Since 2010, sightings have been few and far between but birds have been recorded. The question is, are they still breeding on the Peninsula? Only more recorded sightings will be able to answer this question. So keep your eyes peeled for Scarlet Robins and register their presence!

On the face of it, it would appear that robins, apart from the Eastern Yellow Robin, are becoming rarer on the Peninsula. Two have already become extinct and it may also be the case for the Scarlet Robin. On the available recorded sightings of the winter migrants, it would appear that these are not as plentiful as in they were in the past. Keeping a sharp eye out for the rarer robins and getting them logged in a database will assist in resolving their status over time.”

To read Larry’s entire robin article, and more on the activities of BirdLife Mornington Peninsula, click here.

Image: Juvenile Scarlet Robin, by Patrick Kavanagh