The following symposia will be presented at the Australasian Ornithological Conference 2023
On-ground action to mitigate the impacts of climate change on bird species and communities
Organiser: Dr Amanda Freeman
Although on-ground actions are insufficient to mitigate climate change, practical measures such as cooling birds at nests, protection from flooding, providing supplementary water, ventilating nest boxes, and expanding habitat, can assist some species and bird communities. There are few examples in Australasia, and little has been published documenting the outcomes of such actions. The aims of this symposium are to show examples of practical measures that can assist birds to cope with the impacts of climate change, and to generate ideas and discussion around their application.
From Skylines to Backyards: Managing urban landscapes across multiple scales
Organiser: Dr Annie Naimo
This session will bring together conservation experts to discuss the effects of urbanisation on bird communities at multiple scales, from landscape-level developments and green space to fine-scale suburban backyards. Topics will include the design and implementation of green infrastructure and the role of citizen science in monitoring bird populations. Through a multidisciplinary approach, this symposium aims to promote a deeper understanding of the complex interactions between urbanisation and bird communities, and to identify practical management solutions for conserving avian biodiversity in the face of future development.
Onshore wind energy and Australian birds – what we do and don’t know
Organiser: Dr Jeremy Simmonds
As onshore wind energy is rapidly developed as part of the green transition, questions about its impacts to Australian birds remain unanswered. What are the impacts of wind turbines on birds? And how should impacts be measured and managed? These questions are especially important for highly mobile species – some of which are protected (e.g. threatened), though many are not. This session brings together scientists and practitioners who are seeking answers to these questions. It will provide a forum for summarising the state of the science on onshore wind energy and Australian birds – what we know, and crucially, what we don’t. On this latter point, the aim of this session is to connect interested parties with a view to developing a collaborative research and management agenda to address knowledge gaps in this important space.
How to conserve birds in farmland: ecological theory in practice
Organiser: Associate Professor Jim Radford
This symposium will unpack both the ecological theory underpinning what we can do to conserve birds in farmland and research that supports practical aspects of conserving and enhancing bird communities in agricultural landscapes. The symposium will consist of two sessions: the first focusing on ecological theory that can inform and improve land management for birds in agricultural landscapes and the second on applied practical research to maintain and enhance birds in farmland. Topics to be covered include: land sparing/ land sharing in context of Australian agricultural landscapes; biodiversity production trade-offs; despotic and disruptive species; natural capital accounting as a tool to enhance biodiversity on farms; restoration on farms; critical habitat elements to support birds on farms; threatened species that are reliant on farmland; and social issues and community engagement to promote restoration and conserve birds in farmland.
Health and disease of wild birds
Organiser: Dr Michelle Wille
As exemplified by the current panzootic of highly pathogenic avian influenza, microbes can have profound impacts on wild birds, from individuals to populations and entire bird communities. While most micro- and macro-parasites may have co-evolved with their avian hosts, newly emerging parasites are having substantial negative impacts on their hosts. Human activities are potentially compounding outcomes of infections, through for instance immunomodulatory impacts of pollution and other environmental stressors. In the proposed symposium, we aim to highlight the latest research on organisms and agents found in wild birds, encompassing (1) studies of parasites that are naturally occurring in birds and which may have co-evolved with birds, (2) emerging pathogens bearing increased risk of causing negative health consequences, and (3) other, non-parasitic agents negatively affecting health of wild birds, including pollutants such as plastics, heavy metals and PFASes. The scope of presentations may encompass surveillance, detection and characterisation, as well as detailed epidemiological, ecological and evolutionary studies. Following the success of the session “Ecology and evolution of avian pathogens and their hosts” at AOC 2022, there is clearly substantial scope for this topic.
A national overview of threatened Australian birds
Organiser: Prof. Stephen Garnett
The symposium will provide an opportunity for authors of two special issues of Emu to present their findings a selection of the following topics, depending who is available and able to speak. Trends in Australian threatened birds Biological characteristics of Australian threatened birds Progress and challenges in research on conserving Australian threatened birds Managing threats to Australian threatened birds Monitoring Australian threatened birds The feasibility of implementing threatened bird management in Australia The distribution of Australian threatened birds on the lands of Australia’s First Nations Peoples Mobility and threatened Australian birds Success in recovering Australian threatened birds What habitats are critical for Australian threatened birds Protected areas and Australian threatened birds Impacts of recovery plans, conservation advices, recovery teams and legislative instruments on recovery of Australian birds Australian bird extinctions past and pending Conservation of common but declining species Horizon scan for emerging and future threats to Australian birds Prioritising Australian threatened bird conservation Social science and Australia’s threatened birds The influence of taxonomy on the conservation of threatened Australian birds Values of Australian threatened birds History of Australian threatened bird conservation Flux in understanding of threats to Australian threatened birds Funding needed for Australian threatened bird conservation The importance of international cooperation to Australian threatened bird conservation The contribution of markets to Australian threatened bird declines Voluntary contributions to Australian threatened bird conservation Knowledge sources for Australian threatened bird management The legal and policy context of Australian threatened bird conservation The importance of the arts to Australian threatened bird conservation Human population growth and threatened Australian birds The demography of Australian threatened bird conservationists The philosophical and ethical basis for conserving threatened species.
Bird and Transportation Activities
Organiser: Xiaoyu Wu
The birdstrike has been a long-going aviation safety event for the entire history of human aviation. Much e art has been expended to reduce such aviation safety incidents/accidents, but that e art is limited to a single airport or a single region. The birdstrike management lacks an approach with an coexistence emphasis. Therefore the aviation/transportation industry approach to birdstrike with traditional method such as habitat management, harassement, etc. The panel want to discuss the challenges in birdstrike management and pave the road for the future drone activities.
Edu-action: Inspiring communities to rescue their future (Closed Session)
Organiser: Holly Parson, Urban Bird Team, BirdLife Australia
For long-term conservation benefit, it is crucial that we engage future generations and broader communities in the conservation. Doing so brings benefits to species, landscapes, and the participants that are engaged. However, reaching new groups can be a challenge for conservationists. This session will showcase a series of projects that have engaged children and community groups in hands on conservation. We will hear from speakers that have developed effective strategies to create successful community driven environmental action, particularly focussed on youth, and have built partnerships and collaborations ensure the longevity of their work.
Understanding and mitigating threats to migratory shorebirds at deteriorating habitats in the EAAF (Closed Session)
Organisers: Birgita Hansen, Danny Rogers, Jeremy Ringma, Chris Hassell
Conversion of intertidal habitats to land (so-called ‘reclamation”), especially on the Asian coast, has caused widespread and massive declines in migratory shorebird populations in the East Asian—Australasian Flyway. The evidence of reclamation impacts has been demonstrated and publicised through the combined efforts of many organisations and individuals, and has been instrumental in influencing national governments and key decision makers to reduce large-scale reclamation projects. With the threat of large-scale destruction diminished, there is now a need to focus efforts on protecting remaining habitats. Across the flyway, there continues to be deterioration of important habitats, particularly those that support shorebirds during migration and on their non-breeding grounds. The protection of these remaining habitats faces many challenges, particularly the challenge of incremental loss, often expressed as “death by a thousand cuts”. Infrastructure and land development projects continue to threaten shorebird habitat, including aquaculture and renewable energy projects. Invasive species like Spartina, introduced predators at non-breeding sites, competition with human intertidal resource use, changing hydrological regimes and disturbance at foraging and roosting sites all present threats to shorebirds relying on these much reduced habitats. Added to this is the poorly known but potentially increasing and cumulative impacts of climate change. This symposium will focus on some of these key issues and research that will form an important evidence base for addressing these management challenges.
Tweets, Chirps and Trills: Using bioacoustics to unravel the mysteries of bird calls, songs and behaviour
Organiser: Professor Susan Fuller and Dr Daniella Teixeira
Birds have evolved vast repertoires of calls and songs that are used in communication, courtship, socialisation and defence. Bird vocalisations can convey complex information to conspecifics and other species, as well as provide cues about the environment. The complexity of bird vocalisations has long captured human imaginations and has received significant attention from bioacoustics researchers. More recently, advances in sound recording technology have massively expanded interest in bird vocalisations, including their relevance to conservation. However, many mysteries remain. In this symposium, we will bring together researchers in this field to discuss the latest findings and applications of bird songs, calls and bioacoustic technologies. By unravelling the mysteries of bird calls and songs, we can gain insights into their behavior, evolution and ecology to better understand how these knowledge systems can contribute to conservation.
Key science for the recovery of Australia’s least well-known birds
Organiser: Dr Nicholas Leseberg
The fundamental aim of threatened species conservation is recovery. But for some of Australia’s most threatened birds, an incomplete understanding of the factors that determine where they can (and do) occur and why they are threatened, makes recovery difficult. In some cases, this lack of knowledge has led to inaccurate extinction risk assessment, and the misdirection of research and resources desperately needed to aid recovery. This symposium will first investigate some of the causes behind these errors using Australian examples, and how similar mistakes might be avoided in the future. It will then cover four specific case studies outlining how research has changed our understanding of a species’ distribution, status and extinction risk, and where science is being applied to inform management and policy. Finally, a new method to assess the state of conservation knowledge of birds and to identify species that need research attention will be presented.
Using Birdata and eBird data to understand the distribution, abundance and changes in regional bird faunas
Organiser: Prof Richard Fuller
Birds on Country: Indigenous knowledge and conservation of birds
Organisers: Dr Cat Young and Dr Amanda Lilleyman
First Nations people, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, have long connections with birds. Many groups have birds in their songlines, as totems, and have been protecting or hunting birds as food for millennia. In contemporary conservation, rangers in Indigenous land and sea management work to protect Country and biodiversity, including birds. This symposium will showcase some of the work being done by First Nations people to restore, connect, and protect birds on Country.
Organiser: Barry Baker
Australia has the third largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the world, some 10% larger than its land mass. Australia’s EEZ is known to support approximately 140 taxa of seabirds, roughly one third of the worlds seabird species. Aotearoa New Zealand has both the highest number of resident seabird species in the world (88), and the greatest number of endemic seabird species (37) of any country. The Australasian Seabird Group will host a Seabird Symposium to provide an opportunity for presentations on current research, conservation and management efforts in Australasia. The Symposium will be followed by an open session to encourage and facilitate informal discussions.