Help needed with Silvereye research



I recently had a request for help with research on Silvereyes in Australia. If you are able to help, please contact Dominique directly at the email address at the bottom of the article.

Hello Fellow Australian Birders!

I need your help!

My name is Dominique, and I am a PhD student currently studying at the University of Melbourne. I am investigating how urban noise affects song learning, development and evolution within a native Australian bird species. The species I have chosen to focus on is the Silvereye (Zosterops lateralis). I have chosen the silvereye for a variety of reasons: it occurs commonly in both urban and rural environments, its behaviours (especially acoustic) have been well documented, and we have good knowledge regarding its genetics.

The first part of my project will involve travelling to various sites around Australia, capturing silvereyes for morphological and genetic analysis, releasing them, and recording the songs of individuals in that population.  I am using paired sites in order to compare urban vs rural birds, and I am hoping to cover a relatively large geographical range, in order to observe any geographical effects on song, as well as environmental. I will be staying in each place perhaps for a week or so doing data collection, before moving on.

Although there is good data available on the distribution of silvereyes in atlases, I need the help of birders across Australia (yes, that’s YOU!) to locate resident populations of silvereyes: areas where individuals might be able to be recorded and caught reliably.

I would like to specifically focus on the following areas: Southern Victoria, Southeastern South Australia, Eastern NSW, Tasmania, and Southeast Queensland. Therefore, I am asking if anyone knows of any silvereye populations that tend to hang out either in city parks, or rural areas.

If you have any knowledge that could help me with this project, or any further questions about my research, please do not hesitate to contact me. I would like to thank you in advance for your help, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Dominique Potvin

Almost a non birding day

On the road leaving Mallacoota, Victoria

On the road leaving Mallacoota, Victoria

Our short stay overnight in Mallacoota was far too brief. Early the next morning we headed back to the main highway on our way to Gisborne north of Melbourne. It was one of the longest days on the road for the entire holiday. On the road leading out of the lovely seaside town of Mallacoota I took the above photo of the type of beautiful country we had to drive through.

Along the coast road from Sydney to Melbourne there are few places where you are very far from forests. Part way through the morning I asked my daughter if she’d seen enough trees. She was almost at the point where some open country would have been a pleasant change.

I didn’t see any birds of note on the way out to the highway, except near the locality called Genoa. Near a creek and its associated wetlands I saw the only Swamp Harrier of the trip. I also heard some Bell Miners in the trees there.

By morning tea time we had reached Orbost on the Snowy River. While having my cup of tea I wandered down to the bank of the river but there was little of interest to be seen. I saw several Purple Swamphens and Little Pied Cormorants. I heard a Clamorous Reedwarbler in the reed beds along the river, and a Laughing Kookaburra was calling nearby. I was surprised to hear some Bell Miners because I always associate them with heavily forested areas which is not correct. Their habitat preferences are much broader than that. It’s a species I’m still learning about.

I saw several Grey Fantails, Australian Magpies, various common honeyeaters and some Silvereyes. The only other species of note was a small flock of European Goldfinches, the only time I recorded this species on the trip.

When I wrote the title of this post I thought I’d seen very little on that day. In actual fact I had quite a nice little list even before lunch time. Birding is like that.

Picnic grounds in Orbost on the Snowy River, Victoria

Picnic grounds in Orbost on the Snowy River, Victoria