red necked stint
The red necked stint migrates from Siberia
- Photo © B & B Wells/Parks and Wildlife

Migratory waterbirds include species such as plovers, sandpipers, stints, curlews and snipes.

These incredible birds make round trip migrations of up to 26,000 kilometres each year between their summer breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere and their feeding areas in the south.These trips are made in several weeks, with brief stops at staging sites along the way to rest and refuel for the next leg of their journey.

The corridor through which these waterbirds migrate is known as the East Asian - Australasian Flyway.

  • It extends from within the Arctic Circle, through east and south-east Asia, to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Stretching across 22 countries, it is one of eight major waterbird flyways recognised around the globe.

At least two million migratory waterbirds visit Australia each year during our summer.

  • At least 36 species of migratory waterbirds visit Australian wetlands each year.
    • A further 16 species occasionally visit Australia.
    • Another 15 species—at least 1.1 million birds—permanently live in Australia.
  • In about September each year, hundreds of thousands of migratory waterbirds begin to arrive and inhabit wetlands of Western Australia's north- and south-west, feeding mostly on the invertebrates that live in shallow water in drying wetlands, tidal flats and salt marshes.
  • Common species include the red-necked stint, curlew sandpiper, sharp-tailed sandpiper, bar-tailed godwit and greenshank.

Conserving migratory waterbirds

parry lagoon kimb 1 Parry Lagoons Nature Reserve, Kimberley - Photo © M Coote/H Smith.

Migratory waterbirds and their habitats are internationally protected because:

  • land use activities such as agriculture, mining and urban development can impact on wetlands visited by migratory waterbirds.
  • along their migratory route, the birds stop at many different wetlands. Because disturbance at one site affects the entire network of wetlands used by these birds, it is important to protect wetlands all along the flyway.

Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy

Australia, with other countries, has developed regional strategies to help protect the habitats of migratory waterbirds, the most recent of which is the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.

Its goal is to recognise and manage a network of important wetland sites to ensure the long-term conservation of migratory shorebirds along the flyway.

Nineteen of these important sites are in Australia, four in Western Australia within Ramsar Sites and managed by the department:

  Explore Parks provides visitor information on parks in Western Australia.

International agreements on migratory waterbird conservation

Australia is a signatory to three international agreements that protect and recognise the importance of conserving migratory birds and their habitats:

Species of migratory birds that occur in Australia, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea are listed under the three agreements.

Related resources:

  • Shorebirds and seabirds of the Pilbara coast and islands

    Shorebirds and seabirds of the Pilbara coast and islands

    The Pilbara coast and islands, including the Exmouth Gulf, provide important refuge for a number of shorebird and seabird species. For migratory shorebirds, sandy spits, sandbars, rocky shores, sandy beaches, salt marshes, intertidal flats and mangroves are important feeding and resting habitat during spring and summer, when the birds escape the harsh winter of their northern hemisphere breeding grounds. 

    pdfShorebirds and seabirds of the Pilbara Coast and islands1.59 MB

Camp site bookings go online for Karijini National Park

Securing a camp site at the popular Karijini National Park is now easier with the introduction of an online booking system for Dales Campground.

Karijini National Park is Western Australia's second largest park and, with more than 350,000 visits in 2017-18, is one of the State's most popular destinations.

The park offers spectacular rugged scenery, ancient geological formations, rich cultural heritage values and a range of recreational experiences.

Dales Campground is accessible by regular two-wheel drive cars and features 140 individual sites suitable for large tents, caravans, campervans and camper trailers, with facilities including barbecues, picnic tables and toilets.

 

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$22 million funding boost for prescribed burning

The McGowan Government is delivering a $22 million funding boost to DBCA's Enhanced Prescribed Burning Program over four years, via the 2019-20 State Budget.

This is in addition to the department's annual prescribed burning budget allocation of $11 million for the south-west of the State.

Research shows that prescribed burning is effective in reducing the frequency and size of bushfires in the forests of south-west Western Australia when at least 45 per cent of the landscape has a fuel age of less than six years since last burnt.

To realise this target in the three south-west forest regions it manages, DBCA's Parks and Wildlife Service aims to prescribe burn at least 200,000 hectares each financial year.

 

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Wayward rescued sea turtles released off Exmouth

Twenty-one juvenile loggerhead turtles that washed ashore along the south-west coast will today be flown from Perth to Exmouth to be released into Ningaloo Marine Park.

The release is part of a joint effort by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the community and rehabilitation centres to help conserve the critically endangered species, with only an estimated 1500 to 2000 females known to nest annually in WA.

The juvenile turtles drifted ashore during storms over the past 18 months after travelling southwards in the Leeuwin current, and were reported to DBCA by community members.

DBCA Parks and Wildlife Service wildlife officer Cameron Craigie said the turtles had received intensive medical care at Perth Zoo before being rehabilitated at AQWA and the Bunbury Dolphin Discovery Centre.

“These young turtles normally wouldn’t come ashore for several decades until they are ready to breed, but thanks to the exceptional care provided to them, and the support of Qantas Freight, they will now be able to return to the sea and hopefully become mature breeding adults,” he said.

 

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