Biodiversity Month Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang). Louis Decrevel© 2019. Black-chinned Honeyeater (Melithreptus gularis). Louis Decrevel© 2019.
12 September 2019

Biodiversity Month

With its vivid blue-and-black feathers, the male Superb Fairywren is one of the more stunning and recognisable of our native birds.

Unfortunately, the species – once common in parks and gardens – appears to have started disappearing from urban areas, often replaced with more aggressive species such as noisy miners.

It’s believed the birds have moved away as dense cover and low shrubs – which the Fairywrens need for food, shelter and nesting – have been removed from urban environments.

“Some of our native birds have adjusted well to living in urban areas such as magpies, galahs and rosellas,” explains City of Onkaparinga Nature Conservation Project Officer, Nikola Manos.

“Other birds have more specific habitat needs that have been cleared to make way for houses and roads.

“Those species often struggle to find enough food or safe places to rest and make a home.

“Sometimes these species become stuck on isolated patches of bushland, a bit like an island, and a small population might not be able to survive if it can’t move across the landscape and breed with others.”

Biodiversity Month is held in September each year and aims to promote the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity both within Australia and across the world.

The aim is to ensure our important environments and habitats are preserved for future generations of Australians to appreciate and enjoy.

We’re hosting a Birds, bees and bandicoots guided walk at Frank Smith Park in Coromandel Valley on Sunday 29 September (2-4pm) to celebrate.

Council’s biodiversity conservation efforts

City of Onkaparinga’s Natural Area Conservation Team is working to protect and increase populations of many different species of wildlife, including the Superb Fairy-wren, through actions such as:

  • Controlling weeds that push out native plants, wreck habitat and increase bushfire risk.
  • Creating new habitat by planting more than 50,000 native seedlings each year to make remaining native vegetation patches bigger, and to make it easier for wildlife to safely travel from patch to patch across our landscape.
  • Helping bring back native plant species that have disappeared from an area by growing and planting some of the rare plant species.
  • Protecting and rehabilitating natural areas from damage such as people walking and driving over sensitive native vegetation and fragile soils.
  • Introducing other wildlife habitat features such as logs and rocks into some areas.
  • Working with passionate community groups that help look after our natural areas and teach others about our amazing plants and animals.

Make a difference at home

“Without a diverse ecosystem – often described as the ‘web of life’ – we won’t survive for long,” says Nikola.

“You can also help protect biodiversity in your own backyard and in our local communities in a number of ways.”

  • Create a wildlife friendly garden. Look for plants native to your region and help create a backyard sanctuary for local birds and wildlife. Even if you only have enough space for a pot plant, you can still help to provide habitat for wildlife. Find out what is living or should be living in your suburb and see what you can do to help. You can find out more by taking part in nature based activities, searching national database Atlas of Living Australia or joining one of many citizen science projects.
  • Let nature feed wildlife. When our native animals use native plants and natural habitat to feed, it’s not only better for their health, it’s better for biodiversity.
  • Be a responsible pet owner by not letting your dog or cat interfere with wildlife. And never release an unwanted pet such as a fish, frog or turtle into the wild.
  • Only put water down the drains. Chemicals, oils and litter can easily end up in our waterways and seas where they affect animals and plants.

You can also help with important biodiversity research by joining one of many citizen science projects:

  • Join the Aussie Backyard Bird Count – provides an opportunity for everyone to help provide important information on birds for one week every October.  Last year 399 observers participated in our region, observing 25,525 individual birds and recording 134 bird species.
  • Become a Frog Spotter by joining FrogWatch SA – download the free FrogSpotter app from the Apple iTunes or Google Play store to help us collect information about our frog populations and the health of their habitats.

Birds of Onkaparinga

Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus). Louis Decrevel© 2019.

Scarlet Robin (Petroica boodang). Louis Decrevel© 2019.

Black-chinned Honeyeater (Melithreptus gularis). Louis Decrevel© 2019.

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