It’s literally music to the ears for bird enthusiasts and conservationists. The endangered Eastern Bristlebird was recently singing in the hills of South East Queensland after not being seen or heard here for three years. The results are testament to long-term collaboration and persistence, good land management and the use of artificial intelligence.
The finding was made by BirdLife Australia, who deployed acoustic monitors as part of surveys supported by Healthy Land & Water and the Australian Government.
Sound collected from the monitors was able to be analysed for the presence of Eastern Bristlebird calls thanks to a partnership between the Queensland University of Technology and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.
This collaboration builds on years of work to improve our understanding of the Eastern Bristlebird, monitor and enhance bird numbers and maintain and improve the ecological condition of grassy forests surrounding rainforests on which the northern population of the Eastern Bristlebird depends.
A recent funding boost from both the Australian and Queensland Governments has allowed increased monitoring for Eastern Bristlebirds since November 2021 and led to the recording of 350 calls on five acoustic recorders during July and August 2022. With more acoustic data to be analysed and further surveys to take place, hopes are high that the number of birds present, extent of territories and evidence of breeding will be determined.
Concurrently, weed removal and a carefully planned ecological fire will take place on public and private land to maintain, restore and expand habitat for the Eastern Bristlebird.
If you missed the great nature documentary on the Eastern Bristlebird by Back to the Brink, click here.
|“Eastern Bristlebirds haven’t been seen in Queensland since the 2019 drought and bushfire period. We have been constantly searching for the birds since then, doing both on-ground surveys and acoustic monitoring, but have not had any luck. We deployed these recorders in June, and I almost couldn’t believe my ears when I came across the positive detections using the QUT AI software. There are so many organisations working together on this project, and I think it was a huge relief for all involved to hear them calling again.”
This program is supported by Healthy Land & Water, through funding from the Australian Government.