Keeping an eye on bird numbers

Following yesterday’s post regarding the apparent decline in bird numbers in our local bush, I’ve received a number of comments suggesting that my observation reflects a more general pattern across the central Victoria. It will be important to see what happens over coming months, as I recall a similar pattern during the Millennium drought, which was followed by an encouraging ‘bounce back’ following good rainfall in 2010/11. Yesterday afternoon I visited a favourite waterhole in Providence Gully. It was reasonably active with a number of different honeyeaters – White-plumed, Brown-headed, Yellow-faced, Yellow-tufted and Fuscous along with Rufous Whistler, Mistletoebird, Red-browed Finch and White-browed Babbler all present in and around the water.

Grey Kangaroo, Providence Gully, 6th January 2019

Red-browed Finches


Immature White-plumed Honeyeater

Yellow-faced Honeyeater


4 responses to “Keeping an eye on bird numbers

  1. I too have noticed a decline in the number of small birds in our garden at Castlemaine. The New Holland Honey Easters are still here and duel constantly with the Wattle Birds. The Rosellas and sulphur crested Cockatoos come for the fruit. The magpies are less present than normal but this might be just a phase. The non-indigenous Blackbirds are ever present and for the first time we have Sparrows!

  2. At Wangaratta South at the foot of the Warby Ranges [east] our Aust. plants garden has had more numerous bird species than we have seen in some other years -.We have water ponds and shelter. [Many trees and understorey have been cleared on surrounding properties recently. ] Currawongs have not left – they usually have done by now. A 3rd fledging of house swallows this week. Unusually – dusky woodswallows, turquoise parrots & white-plumed honeyeaters, crested shrike-tits.

    • Dear Helen, many thanks for your note. I wonder if you are witnessing local movements to what sounds like an oasis … are bird numbers in the surrounding bush declining?

      Cheers, geoff


        Hi Geoff,
        There may be a partial oasis effect – Our garden is now well-established after around 14 years, yet this is the first summer that we have seen such a change in the species of birds such as the currawongs. Satin bower birds have certainly been seen occasionally in The Warbies, but we now have a colony established — a mature male was eating ripe cherry tomatoes this morning.

        We have 2 nesting boxes for turquoise parrots, but they have not been occupied so far. A nearby neighbour has more nesting boxes and has ‘heaps’ in residence.

        We don’t bird watch systematically in other areas of The Warbies near our house, so a comparison with other years may be inconclusive.

        We will try and get a better idea of numbers as summer progresses and keep in contact with you. You can see the layout of our garden by searching “the van Riet garden, Wangaratta South”.
        Best wishes,

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