Friday, 25 October 2013

Birdlife Australia’s NSW and ACT Twitchathon - 26-27 October 2013


 Birdlife Australia’s NSW and ACT Twitchathon  - 26-27 October  2013

Founded in 1901, Birds Australia, now Birdlife Australia, is Australia's oldest national conservation organisation, dedicated to the study and conservation of native birds and their habitats.   To assist the organisation in raising some of its funds, it conducts a Twitchathon on the last weekend of October each year.

Over the past sixteen years, birdwatchers all over NSW and the ACT have formed into teams and raced about NSW and the ACT to find as many species of birds as possible over the 24 hour Twitchathon period. Each member of the team has found sponsorship from friends, family, colleagues or corporations for each species of bird seen or heard by each team.  It has become an extremely competitive race and enormous fun!   Team members have won some fantastic prizes, which have been sponsored by very supportive corporations and individuals.  They have raised funds for projects associated with endangered species such as the purchase of trailer and watering units for the Capertee Regent Honeyeater Volunteer Operations Group, as well as equipment for both the Educational Units at Gluepot Reserve SA & the Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park.  Funds have been provided for the Hunter Shorebird Roost Site Protection Project, Gosford’s Friends of the Bush Stone-curlew, the Kangaroo Island SA Glossy Black Cockatoo Conservation Project and the Murray Valley Bush Stone-curlew Captive Release Project, and monitoring by volunteers of the NSW Important Bird Areas.  Last year we provided funds for a project to increase both the area and connectivity of native habitats in the Cowra District, which is located on the Central Tablelands of NSW, c.100 km south west of Orange NSW and 317 km west of Sydney.  In the last three years, approximately $24,500 was raised each year for the projects outline.

This year’s Twitchathon aims to continue the support given in the 2011 Twitchathon to the Powerful Owl Project.  It is intended that the additional funds will enable Birdlife Southern NSW to extend the project for a third breeding season.  The Powerful Owl Project features the Powerful Owl (Ninox strenua)  in the Greater Sydney region, with new information collected, analysed and displayed on the new, interactive Birds in Backyards (BIBY) website.  The Powerful Owl serves as a focal point for the collection of new information on all nocturnal bird species.  The aims of this project are to stimulate and harness community interest in this iconic Australian species so that, for the first time, an accurate assessment can be made of its population size, distribution and breeding success in the Sydney region.  Project Officer, David Bain, advises that the Powerful Owls are now well into breeding season with a number of owls known to be on the nest with eggs.  Chicks will be starting to emerge soon and with over 120 volunteers between Wollongong and Newcastle now involved with the Project, he expects that we should get a greater understanding of what is happening this season.  Excitingly the project is partnering with Gibberagong Environmental Education Centre and Taronga Zoo to provide a Powerful Owl education program to schools in the northern suburbs of Sydney.  In other exciting news there is a nestCAM up and running – check it out at

Twitchathon 2013 aims to raise about $30,000 to assist this project.

So watch out for your local Twitchathon team and follow them through this fun event – watch them “twitch” about in rainforests, swamps, grasslands, woodlands, sewerage works, backyards and river estuaries, intensely listening, and desperately searching, for the most or the rarest species.  Experience the excitement of “ticking” and “dipping” on the birds, the desperation to win, the thrills, the spills of this great weekend adventure!   The teams could be competing in 40° temperatures or during a thunder storm but they will stick firmly to the Twitchathon Rules! They’ll never give up the thrill of the chase during the race because so many $’s are at stake!  Teams are not just competing for the highest score, but for the most dollars raised prizes or even the Lucky Twitcher’s Prize. 

You can also sponsor a few dollars to your local team by contacting:

Alan Morris     Tel (02) 43342776  Email:

Your local Twitchathon team is the Black-necked Stalkers (Greg Clancy, Gary Eggins, Russell Jago).                  

Their local bird club is the Clarence Valley Birdos

See you on the Twitchathon trail???

For further information contact : Alan Morris, Twitchathon Coordinator
Birdlife Australia Southern NSW Group Sydney
Tel 02 4334 2776

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