As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Endangered short-tailed grasswren population survives fire in remote South Australia

Updated Sat at 3:28am

A survey of a remote, rocky habitat full of spinifex grass in South Australia has found a rare bird still lives in the area, despite fears it could have been wiped out in a fire six years ago.

The short-tailed grasswren is only found in South Australia, with the Gawler Ranges subspecies classed as endangered, and Flinders Ranges subspecies considered vulnerable.

Catherine Lynch, Community Ecologist with Natural Resources SA Arid Lands, said the Gawler Ranges was last surveyed in 2006 but a fire had swept through since in 2011.

"We determined that there was that need there to better understand the status of the species in the Gawler Ranges and investigate how they were faring after that fire.

"That was one of the drivers for carrying out the survey this year."

The survey showed the population had remained stable and, although the birds weren't found at some of their previously known habitats, they had resettled elsewhere.

Fifty-seven sites were surveyed with grasswrens recorded at 20.

Ms Lynch said it was difficult to determine if the population had varied, but it was a relief to confirm they were still in the area.

"There was certainly a lot of concern from leading ornithologists in South Australia about the state of short-tailed grasswrens both in the Flinders Ranges and the Gawler Ranges," she said.

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