Mulgoa community welcomes the threatened bird species with the arrival of chick, writes Clare Vernon.
Just in time for the festive season, the Mulgoa community welcomed the arrival of it’s newest resident – a baby regent honeyeater chick.
The chick is just one of only eleven known chicks in NSW to have been reared in 2019. Unfortunately, a second chick did not survive.
Previous nesting attempts in 2009 at Mugloa were unsucessful.
The Mulgoa site represents optimal habitat with quiet, undisturbed grassy woodland with ready access to a farm dam. Both parents were observed bathing and drinking every hour, thanks in part to the abundance of branches and shrubs providing perches to drink.
The greyish-brown chick has fledged, and now joins it’s parents in a nomadic existence.
Regent honey eaters are charismatic, colourful and once common species is native to south-eastern Australian grasslands. Such habitats once provided the abundant omnivorous diet of insects, lerps and flowering mistletoe.
Despite the good news, regent honey eaters still face an uphill battle to reestablish. Development coupled with drought and the recent bush fires in the Capertee Valley – a stronghold of the species – has seen the significant loss of habitat. Further competition and aggression from other native birds (noisy miners), predators (lace monitors, greater gliders, possums and currawongs) and wind (which can blow away nests) means that 66% of all nests fail.
It is one of Australia’s rarest birds, with only 1,000 known wild individuals.
Numerous re-vegetation programs across the Capertee Valley, and Greater Western Sydney aim to increase the grassy woodland habitat of this bird.
You can help turn around the story of the regent honey eater, and indeed support all of our Greater Sydney wildlife. Planting local species, retaining fallen logs and old hollow trees, and providing water in a sheltered spot with perching and protection from cats are ideal ways to create habitat, provide water and food for these iconic species. Local nurseries such as the Hawkesbury Community Nursery at Windsor can supply locally native species.
The author thanks the kind generosity, facts and notes provided by Genevieve Kyi and Peter Ridgeway. Photo (c) Genevieve Kyi, 2019.