I started volunteering with Parks Victoria this year when I saw that they were starting the Great Gariwerd Bird Survey. The opportunity included 10 weeks of classes which I was very excited about. I was a novice bird watcher and was getting frustrated that I couldn’t identify birds because I didn’t know what I was looking for. The course looked at lots of different groups of birds and how to tell them apart. We also worked on identifying birds by their calls, which is a very handy skill as seeing bird at the tops of very tall trees is really hard!
At the end of the course, we split up into pairs and over a weekend in May, we went out in Gariwerd to look for birds. We had two small patches across the park that we surveyed in the morning and afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. I saw lots of different birds including Gang Gang Cockatoos, Eastern Spinebills, Grey Fantails, Brown Thornbills and a Golden Whistler!
This spring, the volunteer group was back out doing the same thing to see what species change between autumn and spring. I looked at the same two sites and saw many of the same birds but in higher numbers and a few more species like the Yellow-tail Black Cockatoo and a Satin Flycatcher (which was a new one for me!). The sites looked very different too, with much more water in the creeks in spring.
I really enjoy volunteering because I know the data that I capture will be used to help Parks Victoria manage predators like cats and foxes and better protect the birds and other animals that live in the park. I’ve also enjoyed meeting new people and learning from more experienced volunteers. I now feel like I have the skills to identify almost any bird I get a good look at. Being out in Gariwerd is also very special, it’s a really beautiful place and through volunteering, I get to go to place I wouldn’t have gone otherwise.
I’m looking forward to continuing as a volunteer with Parks Victoria, learning more about the birds that live in Gariwerd and meeting more volunteers who get involved.