During 2019, the group received funding through a Victorian Landcare Grant to establish a nest box monitoring program in our catchment. So began the interesting task of finding all the boxes installed in our catchment over the past 5-8 years! Most private landholders had a good idea of where their boxes were located, but those on public land took some detective work to find!
The group were able to identify 77 boxes in the catchment.
Two surveys were undertaken at each nest box:
- Location Survey – The GPS locations and characteristics of all the nest boxes were recorded and photos taken of each box to enable finding the boxes in the future.
- Monitoring and maintenance Survey – Each box was inspected externally and a pole camera used to inspect the inside of the box. Any maintenance required was recorded and sightings of any birds and mammals or nesting material was described.
The survey methods used were those developed by Swamps Rivers and Ranges as part of their ‘Nest Box Guide for North East Victoria’. Our nest boxes were one of two group sets used to test the development of this field monitoring survey.
The nest box survey results are entered into the Atlas of Living Australia’s BioCollect tool, which has been developed to support the needs of scientists, ecologists, citizen scientists and natural resource managers in the field collection and management of biodiversity for all states in Australia. This means that we contribute our nest box findings to other programs in the North East, Victoria and even Australia wide, as this data is publicly accessible.
Moving forward, nest boxes in this program will be monitored annually, typically in Autumn, but possibly in late Spring to detect presence of nesting birds at some sites.
Our most unexpected finding was locating nesting material of Brush-tailed Phascogales, also known as Tuans (Phascogale tapoatafa) at a cluster of five nest boxes – which were not known in this area. There have also been numerous Sugar Glider (Petaurus breviceps) sightings and the odd Yellow-footed Antechinus (Antechinus flavipes)!
If you are interested in getting involved in our annual nest box monitoring program, please call Sally Day on 0437 136 162.