Malleefowl mounds are a highly distinctive feature in a landscape, particularly if they have been recently used. The male tends to the mound, regulating the temperature inside the central pocket until the chicks hatch at seven weeks. The chicks can fly and fend for themselves within several hours of digging to the surface unaided.
How do you monitor a threatened bird when they camouflage so well with their natural environment? Well, in the case of the Malleefowl you can monitor their distinctive mounds.
Earlier this month, NACC joined forces with the National Malleefowl Recovery Team to kick start the Midwest Malleefowl monitoring season and host a community training day in Geraldton.
The fifteen keen volunteers started the day with an informative talk by Liz Kington, but the real excitement began as they journeyed out to Tardun to monitor some mounds. The volunteers didn’t see any Malleefowl or active mounds, but they did find one mound that had been worked this season and there were plenty of wildflowers still out in force.
And just last week, NACC Biodiversity Coordinator Jessica Stingemore joined Bush Heritage Australia and other devoted volunteers at Charles Darwin Reserve for her third year of monitoring at the property – you can read about her past experiences here.
Dr Stingemore said the 2017 year was a dry one and from the 100 plus mounds monitored for signs of Malleefowl activity, positive signs were few and far between.
“Skip forward to the present and more than a dozen mounds were active – with Malleefowl feathers, tracks and scats galore. But alas, none of the elusive Malleefowl were seen.”
She added “that for such a rarely seen bird, I am astounded by the passion and dedication of the volunteers – who are more than happy to trek hours through dense bush in the hopes of a sighting.”
“But I do understand why they do it – so that future generations can also enjoy our beautiful country and all its unique animal and plants. Or maybe like me, they are just a little bit mad for Malleefowl.”
If you would like to know more about Malleefowl in the NACC Region and how you can help save them, please contact NACC Biodiversity Program Coordinator Jessica Stingemore at firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is supported by NACC and the National Malleefowl Recovery Team, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program, supported by Royalties for Regions.