As far back as 1992 concern was being expressed about the plight of the Bush Curlew (Bush Thick knee) through the pages of the Wildlife Australia Magazine.
In 1996 a Friends of the Stone Curlews was set up in Victoria with the aim of bringing to public attention the declining numbers of both the Bush Curlew and the lesser known Beach Curlew. Both these birds are extremely vulnerable because of their particular life style and responses to predators. Both live in the Bayside area.
Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Bayside Branch is seeking interested members of the community to help survey the Curlews in the Bayside area, both on the islands and the main land. We need as many people as possible to gather and record the information in order to ensure a reasonable coverage.
Often these birds are heard rather than seen so records of hearing the birds will be as important as records of sightings. They call at night when perusing their food source (insects), their call sounding like a loud, haunting, mournful wail.
Curlews rarely fly spending their time on the ground. Their eggs are laid directly on the ground in the case of the Bush Curlew and on a sandy beach in the case of the Beach Curlew. The Curlew is a large bird standing 55 cm tall which relys on camouflage for protection, which unfortunately, is now seldom sufficient. Eggs, chicks and adult birds are all vulnerable to predation by foxes, dogs and cats, loss of habitat, disturbance when nesting and being run over by motor vehicles.
The survey will be in two sections, firstly for a particular couple of months and secondly for a twelve month period which will cover all seasons including the breeding season. Volunteers can assist with one or both of these surveys.
If you are interested in assisting with the Curlew Survey, drop a note to Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Bayside Branch, PO Box 427, Capalaba 4157.
For further information, refer to WPSQ Bayside Branch web site. Many thanks go to the volunteers who have helped build up a picture of the Curlew in the Brisbane and Redlands bayside areas.