Birds of the wetland

Discover the importance of the Edithvale-Seaford wetlands to 190 bird species, including migratory birds that travel 12,000kms from Siberia.

Audio described version


Narrator – N1

Speaker 2 – S2 (Andrew Silcocks)


N1: Melbourne Water works with bird groups, across the Melbourne area to keep our wetlands healthy for our birds. Have you noticed all the different birds flying around the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands?

[on-screen text: Birdlife of the Wetlands]

N1: Andrew works for Bird Life Australia, collecting data and keeping track of the different birds around the wetland with regular counts.

[on-screen text: Andrew Silcocks, Birdlife Australia]

S2: The bird counts at Edithvale have been going since September, 1989. Since the count started, we’ve recorded almost 190 different bird species, which is quite an impressive number. And each year we keep getting one or two new ones.

Over the years, we’ve seen that a lot of the bush birds, their numbers have increased dramatically. And that’s primarily because of the planting work that the Friends Group and others have done around the edge of the wetland.

N1: The trees planted by these groups encourage bush birds to make the wetland their home. But the primary significance of the Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands is actually for the migratory waders, for example, the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

These are birds that spend our winter all the way up in Eastern Siberia where they breed.

They then move off to staging grounds in Alaska, where they put on as much weight as they can for the 12,000 kilometre flight back to our wetland here in Australia for the summer time.

S2: The whole population of Sand-tailed Pipers spends our summer, in Australia. And Edithvale and Seaford are one of the most important sites for the species, in the country.

Another threatened species that uses the wetlands is the Australasian Bittern. It’s found mainly here in winter. In the last two or three years it’s been recognised as an endangered species. It’s a bird that needs large areas of undisturbed wetlands, and Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands are very important for these species.

N1: Did you know? The call of the Australasian Bittern sounds something like a foghorn, and is thought to be where the myth of the legendary bunyip first originated.

S1: This last summer we heard a male calling, a deep, bass, booming call, which signifies that the area is potentially a breeding site. So we’re hoping that in future years, the Bitterns will return to the wetlands to breed.

N1: These wetlands are such an important site for the survival of hundreds of different types of birds. And it’s up to us to take care of these special places so the birds continue to have a home.

[Melbourne Water logo; tagline ‘Keeping our wetlands healthy for our birds’]


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