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Fascinating Finches & A 20 Year Old Bird Study In Canberra

Neil is an author, scientist, and ornithologist based in Canberra. Each week, he rounds up some of the most recent news, stories, and insights on all things birds through this weekly bird wrap. This week, Neil talks about:
– A 20-year-old study from ornithologists in Canberra
– A Zebra Finch Made a Nest on a Dingo Carcass
– Gouldian Finches Spotted in Katherine Showgrounds

A 20-Year-Old Bird Study by the Canberra Ornithologists Group

The Canberra Ornithologists Group has produced a valuable report called the Long-term Trend Studies in ACT Woodland Birds 1998 to 2019. The report has brought together citizen science data collected over 20 years at 15 different woodland sites around the ACT and mapped the trends of those birds over that period. Of the 150 or so bird species that they’ve recorded, about a fifth of them have increased over the period, while about a fifth of them have decreased over the period.

This report has identified the rare bird species that need to be concerned about, either in terms of their increasing numbers or in terms of the reduction in numbers. The Woodlands of those areas on the edges of the city are particularly endangered part of the ecosystem of the ACT, where we have quite a number of very rare bird species. The report has done a fabulous job of bringing together the work of over a hundred different citizen scientists over the last 20 odd years. It’s a very valuable marker for us to look at the future of birds in these Woodland areas in the ACT. Other parts of the world and other parts of Australia are producing similar types of reports, and these are providing useful points of reference for us to work out what it is that’s threatening some of our more popular and endangered birds around the edges of our cities.

A Curious Place To Nest For This Zebra Finch

Zebra Finches are known for their interesting nesting habits, but a recent discovery has made it to the top of the list. In a curious move, a Zebra Finch made a nest on a Dingo carcass. This may sound gross to some, but it is a very smart move as the Dingo carcass provides an ideal platform for the Finch’s nest. The Dingo’s fur and flesh keep the chicks warm, while the bones of the carcass protect the nest from predators. While this may not be the most common place to build a nest, it just goes to show how adaptive and clever birds can be.

Gouldian Finches Spotted in Katherine Showgrounds

Gouldian Finches are some of the most beautiful birds in Australia, and they’re quite rare too. Recently, there have been reports of Gouldian Finches spotted in Katherine Showgrounds. These sightings are exciting as Gouldian Finches are not commonly found in this area. Gouldian Finches are known for their colorful plumage, with the males having bright blue, green, and purple on their faces and chests. The females are more subtle in color but still beautiful, with green backs and red heads. These sightings provide a unique opportunity for bird enthusiasts to catch a glimpse of these rare birds.


Australia is indeed a bird paradise. Check out our upcoming safaris and birdwatching walks and embark on your next big adventure. We also host private safaris available upon request.

The Best Birdwatching Tours and Safaris in Australia | Neil Hermes: Author, Ornithologist, and Tour Guide

A scientist by background, and a keen author, researcher, tour guide, and ornithologist, Neil traveled to Australia and other parts of the world for decades. His expeditions are fuelled by his unwavering passion for birds, publishing his findings, planning birdwatching safaris, and participating in bird conservation efforts along the way. His passion for both birds and tourism gave him the much needed push to start Neil Hermes Safaris, touring aspiring birdwatchers and enthusiasts around Canberra, and all over Australia.

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