Birdwatching

Hundreds of different bird species – some rare and endangered – can be spotted at our Western Treatment Plant, as well as along Melbourne’s waterways and wetlands.

Whether you’re a beginner birdwatcher or experienced ‘twitcher’, discover key species and where to find them, including if you need to apply for birdwatching access to our sites.

    Update on birdwatching access at WTP

    The Western Treatment Plant re-opened to birdwatching permit holders on Monday 29 November 2021. We thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

    To access the site, birdwatchers are expected to abide by our COVID-safe practices, including Melbourne Water’s COVID-19 Vaccination Policy (184.03 KB, PDF).

    Western Treatment Plant birdwatching

    Group of birdwatchers walking from the Western Treatment Plant bird hide
    Birdlife Australia members at the Western Treatment Plant bird hide (photograph taken prior to physical distancing rules).

    One of Victoria’s most popular birdwatching sites, Werribee’s Western Treatment Plant welcomes birds from as far away as Siberia.

    The plant’s lagoons, grasslands and coastline provide an ideal and varied habitat – offering a permanent water supply, plenty of food, and little interference from humans. Much of the surrounding areas have been recognised as a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention.

    You must have approval to birdwatch at the Western Treatment Plant, and follow all signage and COVIDSafe requirements, including Melbourne Water’s COVID-19 vaccination policy, upon entering the site.

    Learn about applying for access and other site requirements, or what you might see while on site:

    Apply for birdwatching access

    Bird species at the Western Treatment Plant

    Other birdwatching locations

    Eastern Treatment Plant

    Eastern Treatment Plant, birdlife in the lagoon
    Birdlife at the Eastern Treatment Plant lagoons.

    The Eastern Treatment Plant is home to a large native bird population, including many species of regional, state and national significance.

    The plant provides habitat for large numbers of migratory waders, which arrive around August and leave for the northern hemisphere between February and May. Some travel up to 24,000 kilometres a year.

    Birdlife Australia organises monthly bird surveys, typically held every fourth Sunday from 9am until early evening. Numbers are restricted and booking is essential – so keep an eye on their events calendar.

    Bird species at the Eastern Treatment Plant

    Volunteer with Birdlife Australia

    Edithvale-Seaford Wetland

    Woman and child with binoculars look out the window of the centre into the wetland
    Students can learn more about the wetland at our nearby education centre.

    At any one time, up to 7,000 birds are estimated to reside at the Edithvale-Seaford Wetland – the largest remaining natural wetland of its kind in Greater Melbourne.

    The wetland is circled by an extensive walking and cycling trail with elevated viewing platforms. On the weekends the Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands staff a nearby bird hide with excellent views of the wetland, which schools can learn more about by booking a visit to our nearby Education Centre.

    You do not need a permit to birdwatch at the wetland.

    Edithvale-Seaford Wetland Education Centre

    Friends of Edithvale-Seaford Wetlands

    Local rivers and creeks

    Man and baby sit by waterway surrounded by birds
    Birds at the Darebin Parklands

    Melbourne’s rivers and creeks offer 25,000 kilometres of opportunities for spotting our feathered friends. Get to know your river and its inhabitants – download a wildlife guide on the following pages:

    Last updated:
    8 December 2021