Bird tracking program to inform game bird management in NSW

Published 07 November 2014

The University of New England will lead New South Wales’ largest game bird tracking program to help inform DPI managers about game bird abundance and distribution.

$350,000 has been awarded to UNE researchers to monitor the movement, distribution and habitat requirements of game birds throughout New South Wales.

UNE’s Dr Paul McDonald and Associate Professor Graham Hall will use a combination of drones, satellite tagging and chemical analysis to monitor ducks, pigeons and quail.

“We need to get an estimate of both population sizes and movements of the 14 game bird species in this state.  All of them are highly mobile, making these species problematic to accurately survey,” says Dr McDonald.

Dr McDonald says ducks are causing millions of dollars in damage to rice farms annually, so there is an urgent need to learn more about waterfowl movements in this state.

One of the strategies being considered by the government is sustainable management of game birds.

Dr McDonald says gaining a better understanding of movements will allow farmers a more informed approach to managing birds on their property.

The research will look at the main water areas of New South Wales over the next six months.

The findings will be released by mid-next year.