MIGRATING BIRDS MAKE MASSIVE JOURNEY TO SHIRE

While many Sydneysiders can barely travel beyond their five-kilometer radius, some new visitors to the shire have travelled thousands of kilometers to make an appearance.

Local bird watching groups have been excited to note the return of long- distance migratory shorebirds — even identifying individual birds who have made non — stop flight of more than 11,000 kilometers. A network of local and international researchers are collaborating to build knowledge of Sutherland’s shorebird population and the long — distance routes they follow.

Julie Keating from the national Shorebird Monitoring Program said she program was “so proud” to take part in research.

“It was very exciting for the people in the UK to know that an Eastern Curlew they flagged in China made it safely to the shire”, she said.

“Eastern Curlews are critically endangered. At Maianbar last month, one female curlew arrived with a leg flag showing that she had come via Jiangsu in China, where she banded on her journey from Siberia to Australia”.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services is working with National Parks and Wildlife, Sutherland Shire Council and the Georges River keeper organization on a range of strategies to improve local habitat for birds like the Eastern Curlew and Bar-tailed Godwits.

Ms Andrew has studied the migratory bird population for more than 20 years.

“It is wonderful we have important habitat in the shire where they can feed and rest, such as Towra Point, the Georges and Woronora rivers, and Port Hacking,” she said.” Migratory shorebirds spend more than six months of their life in Australia — it’s a critical part of their life cycle.

“After their epic migration… across the entire Pacific Ocean, shorebirds like the Bar — tailed Godwit need to recover body condition, moult and build fat reserves for their return migration to breeding grounds in March.

“Many people don’t understand that shorebirds numbers have crashed recent years — giving them space undisturbed on the sand mudflats is vital to allow them to survive.”

Sutherland Shire Environment Centre spokeswoman Dr Tassia Kolesnikow said the webinar would help people understand more about the birds and their journey.

“Shorebirds are truly world record-holder for long- distance migration,” She said.

“People are astounded to find out that some shorebirds in our shire migrate all the way from Alaska and Siberia.

“We are excited to host this webinar to feed this fascination and to promote a better understanding of how to protect them so today’s children can show these incredible birds to their children in the future.”