In the pre-dawn darkness on Saturday the 18th of June, twenty-five volunteers and one Park Ranger were greeted with perfectly calm conditions for Tarra-Bulga National Park’s Annual Lyrebird Survey. Overnight showers had passed by leaving moist dripping foliage in their wake.
The survey is designed to monitor the density of Lyrebirds living in 60ha comprising of wet sclerophyll and cool temperate rainforest immediately to the east of the Tarra-Bulga National Park Visitors Centre. There are sixteen monitoring points strategically placed throughout the site and volunteers move to each site before adult male Lyrebirds start their morning calls at dawn. Volunteers then use a compass to record the direction and proximity of the Lyrebird calls. This year we had enough volunteers to cover all but one of the monitoring points.
Following the survey, lines representing the direction of the calls are plotted onto a map, and triangulation is used to establish the spots where birds were calling from. This year the results indicate we had at least nine (male) Lyrebirds calling in our 60ha zone. This corresponds to a density of one adult male Lyrebird per 6.7 ha. You can also assume that there will be female lyrebirds and immature males or non-calling males within our target area. To account for this to get our overall population of Lyrebirds we multiply the number of calling males by a factor of 2.5. It is believed that male Lyrebirds do not begin to breed until they are around 6 or 7 years old.
Summary of Tarra-Bulga National Park Lyrebird Surveys
How do these results compare with other years? Is thus good news?
This year’s result seems to be typical for the weather conditions. Not as many birds heard calling compared to 2014 (14) but nine birds is our second highest result in recent years. So the news is good. As we get more data each year we can get an idea of any long term trends in the Lyrebird population.
I would love to participate in this. Can I and when is the next one?
Hi Tony, we only have one per year which is usually held in early June. We are always looking for volunteers so if you are available for next years that would be great. Probably the best way to find out when things are on is to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org then we can put you on our list to receive newsletters and emails about upcoming events. You could also follow this website, we post stuff on Facebook too but that doesn’t always reach everyone everytime.
Good to see people becoming involved in monitoring wildlife. As an annual visitor to the Tarra-Bulga area I undertake bird surveys and forward this information to the Victorian Biodiversity Atlas (VBA – see the internet). For example, with George Appleby we published a paper on the extension in range of a rainforest bird, the Brown Gerygone, found in the Strzeleckis.
Curious as to whether your lyrebird survey data will be published (or at least added to the VBA)? I see that the Sherbrooke lyrebird group has made some of its findings available (http://sherbrookelyrebirdstudygroup.blogspot.com.au)
Cheers, Martin O’Brien, Melbourne
Have looked at adding our survey data to VBA but not sure it is in a really suitable format. Have added fauna records from our remote camera monitoring ( well over a year ago) to the VBA and last time I checked they had not been published (or whatever the process is) Probably due to the government not giving them enough funding.
I personally do regular bird lists via Ebird at Tarra-Bulga and pretty much always tick off Lyrebirds. These Ebird records get regularly updated on the Atlas of Living Australia ALA.org.au (which also includes VBA records).
I have looked at the Sherbrooke site before and there is some good information about the group but I haven’t managed to find much in the way of survey results on there.
Cheers David (Friends of Tarra-Bulga)