The Bush Stone-curlew aka Bush Thick-knee, Weeloo, Willaroo, and Angelbird is an endangered bird species which us about to enter its breeding season.
The Tweed is one of the few places in NSW to see an annual increase in the breeding population of this wonderful creature.
Bush Stone-curlew monitoring program
Tweed council’s Bush Stone-curlew monitoring program, with help from community volunteers, has been tracking the bird’s numbers in the Tweed since 2012.
Council’s Project Officer – Wildlife Protection, Emily Clarke said the latest figures showing a rising population provided a sense of optimism about the future of Bush Stone-curlews on the Tweed. ‘The result of active monitoring and management has seen an increase from just one known breeding pair in 2012 – to approximately 50 breeding pairs in 2020.’
Sightings were recorded at 39 locations across the Tweed during the 2019-2020 breeding season on land managed by Council, with many more sightings recorded on private land.
Sightings vital to protect the birds
‘The reports of sightings have been vital to our work to protect the birds and we encourage the community to keep it up, in particular letting Council know about nesting pairs or a pair with young,’ said Ms Clarke.
‘Bush Stone-curlews are most at risk during their breeding season, which begins in late winter and continues until autumn the following year.”
The risks to the birds include: vehicle strike, habitat disturbance and loss, disturbance of nest sites by people and domestic dogs and cats (causing birds to abandon their eggs or chicks), and predation by foxes, dogs, and cats.
Before and during the breeding season, Council undertakes work to protect these nest sites, including fox and feral cat control works; temporary fencing of nest sites on public land to prevent disturbance, and; awareness-raising activities to encourage owners to keep dogs on leads in public places and cats safe at home.
Birds start nesting now
Once the birds start nesting from the end of July to early August, temporary fencing and signage will be installed across the Tweed Coast to provide a safe space for the birds, and Council would like to remind everyone to please keep their distance.
To bring attention to the plight of Bush Stone-curlews, a short video has been released to help residents understand the importance of protecting the birds so their numbers can continue to increase.
If you see an injured Bush Stone-curlew please call Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers on their 24-hour hotline 02 6672 4789.