This November Kilter Rural has just undertaken its first coordinated bird survey across its farmland assets. As well as being a valued natural asset in their own right, native birds are recognised as an important marker of more general ecological condition of a landscape, reflecting the extent and quality of native vegetation.

This inaugural survey occurred on the FFL Winlaton farmlands near Lake Boga in northern Victoria. Over 4 days, 45 sites of varying vegetation types and condition were surveyed by using the standardised 2 hectare – 20 minute method. Kilter engaged renown conservation ecologist and ‘twitcher’ Chris Tzaros to undertake the survey.     

Chris Tzaros on the bird hunt in our regenerating farmlands

Survey results are in the process of being compiled, but notable highlights were the observation of multiple family groups of the endangered Grey-crowned Babbler; a breeding Tawny Frogmouth; a young Wedge-tail Eagle still in the nest; common observation of White-winged Fairy Wrens across our shrublands; and Bluebonnet parrots frequenting some of our box-woodland sites.          

The data collected from survey provides a starting baseline for these farms, from which periodical survey in the years ahead will be able to be directly compared. In autumn 2021 a similar survey is scheduled for properties of the Australian Farmlands Funds.

Importantly, the survey just completed will also directly inform the development of a Kilter Rural Accounting for Nature certified methodology for bird condition status. When developed this will sit alongside other certified methodologies for natural assets such as native vegetation, soil and water.     

Feature image: Grey-crowned Babbler, a species classed as Endangered in Victoria. Taken by Chris Tzaros

Article by:
David Heislers
Landscape & Sustainability Analyst