Have you seen a bunyip bird?
A new project, involving satellite technology will allow world-wide access to track Riverina bunyip birds.
The bunyip bird is formally known as an Australasian bittern, and is a globally endangered waterbird. It is said that the eerie booming call of the male bittern during breeding season is the origin of the Australian myth of the bunyip, the mythical creature which, according to legend lives in Australia’s billabongs, waterholes, swamps and riverbeds.
The Bitterns in Rice Project is a collaboration between the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia and Birdlife Australia, supported by a number of agencies. The group is embarking on a new project, Tracking bunyip birds, which will involve satellite tracking of seven Riverina bitterns.
Bittern numbers are so low that it is thought there are only about 2500 of them left in Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. However, there is hope for the species. A large number of bitterns have been discovered in the New South Wales Riverina’s rice crops. Through study, it has been found that the rice crops are the perfect breeding location for these secretive birds. So, now that the birds have been located a new question has arisen, where do they go when the crops are harvested? No one knows for sure.
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