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Night stalker has Chinese nickname

"Standing like a bad-tempered school master at the edge of the reed bed, the nankeen night heron owes its unusual name to a Chinese import.

The word "nankeen" refers to the bird's buff-coloured back which is the same colour as a type of cloth called nankeen, which in Victorian times was imported from Nanking in China.

Also known as the rufous night heron – again because of its colour - this elegant bird, which usually sports two long head plumes throughout the year, is mainly nocturnal and is one of 11 species of herons found in Australia."

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Cassowaries cop bad rap: conservationists

"DON'T be fooled by their bad-bird reputation - cassowaries need your help.

Only 1000 southern cassowaries, known for the large horn-like casque on their head, are thought to remain in far north Queensland.

Growing to a height of up to 180cm, the cassowary has long been regarded as the world's most dangerous bird.

But according to Rainforest Rescue conservation scientist Jennifer Croes, that's a title Australia's heaviest bird doesn't deserve."

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Learn to rescue trapped seabirds

"Each year, hundreds of pelicans and other sea, shore and water birds are the unfortunate victims of hooks and fishing tackle.

Approaching these birds and removing hooks or untangling lines might seem difficult, but Australian Seabird Rescue South Coast, which has been rescuing and rehabilitating seabirds for more than 20 years, has some  advice.

The voluntary organisation will hold a pelican and seabird rescue workshop  at Port Kembla Sailing Club, Northcliffe Drive, Berkeley, on March 23 from 9.30am to 3.30pm."

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Bashful beauty seeks privacy in Perth's beds

"Some of Perth's most beautiful birds can also be the hardest to get a good look at.

One of these is the elusive and fleet-footed buff-banded rail, which dashes for the cover of the nearest reed bed whenever it spots an intruder and is often mistaken for less shy birds such as coots and moorhens.

So although it is relatively common in wetlands in all but the driest regions of Australia, many people never see, or only catch glimpses of, this striking yet well camouflaged bird."

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Hundreds of Dead Birds found near Dubbo

Wildlife Information and Rescue Service volunteers have been responding to rescue calls with hundreds of native birds found dead or extremely ill in the Troy Reserve area. Around 25 birds have been rescued so far but hundreds are reported to have died with WIRES volunteers saying calls from the public are still coming in. It appears that a significant number of corellas have been killed, but sulphur crested cockatoos and galahs have also been effected.

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Female Song Birds Do Sing And Charles Darwin Got It Wrong

Song is almost as common in female birds as in males, according to new research which challenges Charles Darwin’s theory of sexual selection and the evolution of elaborate bird songs.

“Darwin focused on the evolution of song through sexual selection, and assumed bird song was a male trait to attract females,” said Dr Naomi Langmore, from the ANU’s Research School of Biology.

“Our findings suggest that bird song may have evolved through a broader process, called social selection, as both sexes competed for food, nest sites, mates and territories.”

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Australian Seabird Rescue Central Coast will fold unless volunteers are found to help out

"ALMOST 1000 birds have been saved by the work of Australian Seabird Rescue on the Central Coast over the past eight years, but that could all come to an end if more volunteers are not found.

Branch co-ordinator Jo Bird has been on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for the past seven years for rescues. She has also been responsible for the administration, rehabilitation of birds and delivery of presentations to community groups. The group has just two other active members in the area."

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Powerful Owl Project 2014 - volunteers needed

Following from the successful Powerful Owl monitoring season we have just been recharging the batteries for the 2014 breeding season (May – October). In the 2013 season the project located 56 pairs, 34 nesting trees and had 43 chicks fledge in the urban area in Wollongong, Sydney, Central Coast and Newcastle. For a 2013 season wrap up please view the newsletter at http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/Powerful-Owl-Newsletter .

Chickowee's picture

Goldfields deluge attracts mass bird flock

"A MAJOR bird breeding spectacle is underway in Western Australia's Goldfields region for the first time in almost 20 years.

Thousands of banded stilts, a species of nomadic wading bird, have abandoned wetlands around the WA coast and flocked to Lake Ballard, about 150km north of Kalgoorlie, after some areas of the vast and usually dry salt lake received an entire year's rainfall in just a few days.

The birds await such infrequent events to breed en masse."

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Hungry hunter on the prowl around the clock

"One of the many summer visitors to our shores is the grey plover.

This delicately-mottled bird breeds in northern Russia, Siberia and Arctic North America, arriving on the Australian, New Zealand and New Guinea coastlines from September to October.

Usually alone or in pairs, the grey plover we see is not wearing its most conspicuous plumage – a bright livery of reddish brown, black and white – which it reserves for the breeding season in the northern hemisphere."

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Flight of fancy brings wanderers to Top End

"SEVERAL species of bird with a terrible sense of direction have been found in the Top End.

In the past few weeks, twitchers have spotted four different species of birds that should not be found anywhere near Australia.

Charles Darwin University senior research developer Peter Kyne said the birds - both grey and red-necked phalarope at the Leanyer sewage ponds, a christmas frigate bird at Nightcliff and a eurasian hoopoe off Galiwinku - shouldn't be anywhere near the mainland."

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Mallee Emu-wren and Black-eared Miner populations lost in SA fires

The January fires that accompanied the week-long heatwave wiped out the last remaining wild population of the mallee emu-wren in South Australia. 

During the week-long heatwave that began on January 13 lightning ignited fires in Victoria's Bronzewing Flora and Fauna Reserve in the Mallee, one of just three sites home to another endangered bird, the black-eared miner.

All the 40-odd miner birds in the reserve were killed in the fire, limiting the species to just one population in the state, again at Murray-Sunset National Park.

Chickowee's picture

Bringing back the birds of Bangham

" 'Thick-head' seems a rough title for the petite and beautifully voiced Golden Whistler.
  
The bird's nickname relates to its robust head and neck, but it also holds the reputation of being one of Australia's loudest songsters.

In the sights of Cassie Hlava's binoculars, the elusive birds become part of a broad ecological picture."

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Lyrebirds mimicking chainsaws: fact or lie?

"The lyrebird is considered one of Australia’s best-known birds — you might recognise them from our 10 cent coin — but do we really know them? Famed for their spectacular courtship display, you may have seen footage of lyrebirds mimicking human noises such as chainsaws and camera clicks.

But do lyrebirds in the wild really mimic chainsaws? Yes, if you search the internet; no, if you read the literature."

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Giving gulls the bird saves wetland

"It was supposed to be a hotbed for bird diversity. But not long after being created in 2012, the Clayton South wetland was afflicted with a serious bout of gull glut.

More than 7500 argumentative silver gulls descended on Namatjira Park Wetlands to drink and bathe by day, scaring off the native birds. Residents, increasingly annoyed by the squabbling noise and bird droppings, started lodging complaints with the park's authority, Melbourne Water."

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Taking a ramble on the wild side

In the tradition of Steve Abbott's comedy radio program "Birdbrain", broadcast on ABC Local Radio some years ago, comes "Hello Birdy", hosted by veteran Australian actor William McInnes.

"Hello Birdy" screens on ABC1, commencing on Saturday, February 1, 6.30pm.

This is a six-part series, in which, according to the ABC, "William McInnes gets up close and personal with some of Australia's diverse birdlife. With his offbeat sense of humour and a weird bag of tricks, William observes Australia's birdlife and the people who work alongside them."

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Rare Carnaby's cockatoo lets chicks starve

Peter Hancock's weekly 'Birds of Perth' series today features the life history of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo.

Read it now on the Sydney Morning Herald website.

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