We've painted the forests of Chiltern black and yellow!
Over the last 10 days 77 birds bred and reared at Taronga were released into Chiltern–Mount Pilot National Park in north-eastern Victoria to bolster the dwindling population of wild birds.
This is the largest-ever release of Zoo-bred honeyeaters into the wild.
Whilst 3 inches of rain over a 30 hours period made things a little uncomfortable, in some ways it was perfect timing – setting of a great catalyst for flowering in the eucalypts of the box–ironbark forests that these honeyeaters call home, ensuring plenty of nectar for the release birds to feed on.
The second release day started off with a moving 'Welcome to Country' by local Elder, Uncle Wally, who recognised both the original custodians of the land and the non-indigenous 'elders' who have taken up guardianship of the forests.
Despite the rain, around 25 of the 38 birds from the second release immediately took to wing, circling above onlookers before settling into trees, and by mid afternoon on Saturday all birds had left the tents.
Nearly all birds fitted with trackers have already been recorded, with plenty of evidence to suggest that the behaviours shown by the release birds will place them in good stead to thrive in the wild environment.