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Want to be a bird watcher?

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A banded Eastern Yellow Robin Photo – Geoff Park

By Helen Tatchell

The Wombat State Forest is home to many creatures, great and small, but it is one particular small creature that Monash University is seeking volunteer bird watchers for.
As part of an ongoing conversation research project, the Eastern Yellow Robin is wanted in the sights of binoculars or cameras.
Lana Austin from the University said they are seeking volunteer bird watchers to resight colour banded Easter Yellow Robins.
“Wombat State Forest has around 100 individual robins uniquely colour banded. Volunteers with binoculars or cameras are needed to gather information about these individuals during the breeding season,” she said.
Ms Austin said volunteers are assigned a local site to visit a few times per month until December, or longer.
“Volunteers record information such as the presence of individual robins, mate choice and any nesting attempts via an app called Kobo. Training is provided for those who require it.”
Local volunteer Nathan Gregory said at first it can be a bit tricky to see and work out the colour band combination on the robins’ legs
“Eastern yellow robins don’t sit still for very long. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes a bit addictive and very rewarding.”
Each robins’ unique colour combination links to their age, sex and genetic information. Information gathered by volunteers will enable researchers to understand the genetic climate adaptation being seen in the robins’. This information may be used as a model for management actions of more threatened species in the future.
Lana Austin can be contacted via email for more information – lana.austin@monash.edu