The recreating the past: call of the Bush Stone-curlew project was initiated to establish a self-sustaining wild population of Bush Stone-curlews (Burhinus grallarius) on Phillip Island (Millowl). These unique and remarkable ground-dwelling birds are listed as endangered in Victoria. Red foxes wiped out Phillip Island’s Bush Stone-curlews in the 1970s, but since the island was declared fox-free in 2017, the opportunity arose to provide a safe-haven for the curlews and boost Victoria’s population.
In collaboration with Moonlit Sanctuary, two young Bush Stone-curlew birds were recently welcomed to the Koala Conservation Reserve. Here they will spend time behind-the-scenes settling in before moving into a specialised pre-release aviary within the Reserves public woodland area so visitors can see and get to know more about these new island residents.
“The ultimate goal is for these two birds to be part of a future wild Bush Stone-curlew release as we re-introduce them to Phillip Island, and I am excited for the community to meet them and learn about their plight. This will allow people to connect with their story of near extinction and learn how they can act to protect Bush Stone-curlews and other wildlife species on Phillip Island (Millowl)”, said Thomas Nixon, Nature Parks Threatened Species Officer.
The project is thanks to the work of a dedicated Nature Parks team in collaboration with Nature Conservation Working Group, Moonlit Sanctuary, Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
The Penguin Foundation Board is thrilled to support this work which forms part of our 2021-2022 signature funding program ‘Protecting and enhancing the status of Threatened Species on Phillip Island’ and we would like to acknowledge and thank our generous donors for contributing to this important and significant project.
The first step is to construct two bird aviaries that supports two pairs of Bush stone-curlews at the Koala Conservation Reserve. This will provide the first education tool for the and local community and visitors to learn about the unique species and provide a platform to discuss the recovery and release efforts on Phillip Island (Millowl). Approximately six pairs of sub-adult birds (12 individuals) will be translocated to a fully enclosed, soft-release aviary. Some birds may have some wing feathers clipped to see if this improves survival and breeding success by preventing long-distance dispersal and to encourage them to establish territories as a flock. They will be supplementary-fed inside the aviary for a period of three months before a door is opened and the animals can begin to venture in and out. This should occur during Spring/Summer when prey availability (insects) is most abundant. It is anticipated that Phillip Island may eventually support a population of 40-100 birds. This project aligns with the Threatened Species Communication Plan and more information can be found within the document.
Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
Penguin Foundation amount: $100,455
Year: 2021 - 2022