Fox Baiting Has Spin-Offs For Native Birds

October 4, 1999 The Southern Weekly Magazine

A widespread fox baiting program will be undertaken in the Corowa and Savernake region this month to not only protect lambing percentages, but also safeguard the endangered bird species, the Bush-stone Curlew.

District landholders attending a recent field day at Buraja Hall agreed to participate in the program to help protect the nocturnal Bush-stone Curlew - a native bird recognisable by its eerie calls heard at night time.

Wildlife expert. Doug Robinson told farmers at the field day that bird numbers had been severely reduced in recent years with only 300 Bush-stone Curlew breeding pairs left in Victoria.

"If no immediate action is taken in southern NSW immediately, we can expect to see the same happen here," he said.

Mr Robinson, and fox control export, Peter O'Shannassy, who also addressed the field day, agreed that the Red Fox presented the biggest danger to the Bush-stone Curlew species.

"The Bush-stone Curlew has two basic habitat requirements that will help it survive - fallen timber, sticks and branches to shelter in at ground level, and a short grass cover of 15-20cm.' Mr Robinson said.

"Grass any taller than this will prevent them from viewing approaching predators."

Mr 0' Shannassy said the breeding season for the fox was the best time to undertake a baiting program.

"Baiting at this time of year will also greatly reduce the burden later on in the season when March lambing is underway," he said.

"It also creates positive spin-offs for ground nesting birds, like the Bush-stone Curlew."

Landholders were also provided with cassettes featuring recordings of both the Bush-stone Curlew and the Red Fox, so they could become familiar with the calls.

Surveys to determine the exact number of Bush-stone Curlew's remaining in the Corowa and Savernake districts will be carried out at the end of this year.

Landholders interested in the fox baiting program should contact their local Rural Lands Protection Board ranger.

People wishing to report sitings of Bush-stone Curlews should contact Greening Australia project officer, Kylie Stafford on (02) 6033 0942 or Susan Reilly (02)6035 9461.