In the Castlemaine district at the moment there is an intrepid bunch of people exploring night birds via the use of ‘Song Meters’ – recording devices set up in the forest for a week at a time, recording bush sounds from dusk until dawn. The aim is to expand our knowledge of all species, gain an idea of distribution and numbers and hopefully breeding. This is part of the Communities Listening for Nature Project developed by the Victorian National Parks Association and is run locally with involvement from Connecting Country. Analysis of data collected is being done via Museums of Victoria who are assisting with several community projects recording bush sounds.
A local “Detectability Study” has been completed at 30 sites on both public and private land to confirm which species can be reliably identified with this equipment. It is early days yet, but at quite a few locations Powerful Owls have been recorded along with Owlet Nightjars and Tawny Frogmouths amongst others. We also have a few records of White-thoated Nightjars, Southern Boobooks and Barn Owls.
A Song Meter
The project is now into the second phase with six Song Meters being deployed at a range of sites across Key Biodiversity Areas in the region – in particular the Muckleford Forest, the Rise and Shine area and the Sandon Forest. For more information on KBA’s check out the Birdlife KBA site.
The aim is to cover the breeding season of a variety of night birds. If you are interested in further details about local night birds I have compiled a summary of all species, calling times and breeding seasons. See the attached PDF.