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Bird watchers flock to Burnett Heads for research

Bird watcher: The Community Monitoring Day at Burnett Heads gave participants the chance to spy shorebirds.
The community monitoring day at Burnett Heads gave participants, including BMRG's Matthew Thomson (left), the chance to spy some shorebirds in the region.

A flock of local bird watchers gathered at Burnett Heads on Sunday to spy some of the world's greatest intercontinental travellers.

The team, made up of officers from Burnett Mary Regional Group and the Bundaberg Bird Observers Club, spent the day monitoring various migratory shorebirds in the area for research purposes.

BMRG spokesman Ben Galea said there are many species of shorebird in the Bundaberg Region.

“Birds like the critically endangered Far Eastern Curlew, with it's long tubular beak, flies between feeding grounds in Australia and Russia, a journey of more than 12,000km,” he said.

“You mightn't realise it when driving past, but the brown uniformity of tidal mudflats in Burnett Heads actually offers a smorgasbord for our shorebirds, so it's out there on the low tide that you'll see them.

“Like most beautiful things, these birds don't ask for attention.

“These birds are flighty and if disturbed too often, will not consume enough food to store the body fat needed to get them to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere.”

Bird watcher: The Far Eastern Curlew is one of the many shorebirds that can be spotted in Burnett Heads. Photo: https://ebird.org/species/faecur
The Far Eastern Curlew is one of the many shorebirds that can be spotted in Burnett Heads. Photo: eBird

Bird watcher Nev has passion for shorebirds

Bird Life Bundaberg's Nev Capell helped organise the event and said he wanted to educate people as part of his role as a shorebird ambassador.

“The monitoring day is all about getting people used to our migratory shorebirds,” he said.

“Some of these birds are on the critically endangered list and are at risk of losing even more habitat.

“The more people know about them, the more they can be protected.”

Nev said there were about 20 species of shorebird in the region with two of those critically endangered, including the Far Eastern Curlew.

“To keep these birds protected, we ask residents and visitos to stay away from them, especially the resident birds who can be seen nesting along the shores from September to January each year,” he said.

“People who have dogs should not allow the dogs to chase these birds either.”

Nev said he had always had a passion for birds and assisting with the safety of shorebirds was something he loved to do.

“I have loved birds all of my life,” he said.

“Someone has to put their hand up for them so that might as well be me.”

If you're interested in learning more about the region's many species of shorebird contact Nev Capell from the BundabergBirdObservers.org at nevcap@gmail.com.

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