Have you tried BirdCast?

Published 4th February 2022. Written by Maddison O’Brien

Have you ever been surprised to discover that a patch of bush or area on your farm is home to a huge variety of birds? Or perhaps you’ve daydreamed about attracting more colourful and diverse birds to your property? There is an exciting new tool that is useful for landholders and landcarers, which combines decades of woodland bird research into a clever new interface; it’s called BirdCast!

The tool has been created by researchers from Sustainable Farms at The Australian National

University, with support from Meat and Livestock Australia. Sustainable Farms is a research and extension project demonstrating the value of natural assets such as native vegetation and farm dams for environmental health and farm profitability.

Sustainable Farms ecologist Angelina Siegrist and Lead Scientist Professor David Lindenmayer with the new web tool, BirdCast.

“The BirdCast tool enables landholders to predict which birds might frequent woodland areas on their farm, and to understand how the bird species present might change under a range of scenarios,” Sustainable Farms Lead Scientist Professor David Lindenmayer said.

“This is really valuable because with many species of native wildlife under threat and biodiversity declining worldwide, farmers have an opportunity to help turn this trend around by looking after woodland areas on farms.”

“The BirdCast tool gives land managers a solid indication of how their own changes in management might have a real-world impact on biodiversity,” Professor Lindenmayer said.

It can be challenging for farmers and stewards of our beautiful landscapes to access real science to implement improvements to the land, but here is an innovative tool that provides site-specific analysis and probability of bird species. BirdCast makes it easy to compare and contrast different areas making clear the impact that changes in vegetation have on biodiversity.

Remnant Box Gum Grassy Woodlands are valuable assets to any farming system; the health of these systems is crucial not only for the health of the agricultural system, but also to the survival of countless bird and animal species. The Sustainable Farms team have been studying birds on farms for decades, and this tool is a direct output of that diligent research. BirdCast enables landholders to use that data to inform decisions on their land and have real-world impacts towards supporting biodiversity.

BirdCast is an essential tool for landholders and works well on tablet devices in the field as long as there’s an internet connection. Check it out to see how many species you might have in your patch at www.sustainablefarms.org.au/birdcast