Bush stone-curlews are making a comeback in the ACT

By AG Staff 21 March 2018
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The bush stone-curlew is returning to the ACT in strong numbers after a 40 year absence.

SIGHTINGS OF bush stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius) in several Canberra suburbs is a good sign that the bird is making a comeback.

The ground-dwelling bird was reintroduced into the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary back in 2014, but before that, hadn’t been seen in the ACT for 40 years.

Residents of Forbe and Throsby were delighted to see the birds flying around their suburbs. One resident captured two of the birds foraging for insects under a street light.

bush stone curlew ACT

(Image Credit: Anthony Li Chiang)

“They have a role to play,” Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary ecologist Kate Grarock told the ABC.

“They love their insects so they play a role in terms of keeping insects down and eating some small reptiles and small mammals.”

According to Kate, the birds will fly out into the suburbs at night but return to the sanctuary to roost during the day.

She said the regular sightings are a good sign.

“We feel like we have a healthy population and we’re really excited to see them coming and going from the sanctuary.”

Like many Australian native birds, curlews are the victim of predation by cats and foxes, which eventually resulted in their local extinction back in 1970.

Kate credits the effectiveness of predator-proof areas for their successful return, and is advising residents to keep their cats indoors and their dogs on leashes.

Residents are also being encouraged to send through any photos of the curlew to the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary Facebook page.