Monitoring Malleefowl?

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Malleefowl monitoring involves driving to and spending the whole day in the bush with a monitoring group (and supervisor) walking from mound to mound using a GPS (we know where all the mounds are found).

Once located, we use a smartphone app (and backup monitoring sheet) to record the activity and dimensions of the mound. On the day of monitoring, we start from a central location and split into teams. We then drive as close to the monitoring areas as possible using available roads -4wd is not required for this. Red Moort is the only monitoring site where we can walk to most of the mounds from the Field Station.

Then using a map of all the mounds we design appropriate walking trips into the bush to monitor a group of mounds. We navigate back to our vehicles after monitoring these and then move to another area. We usually go out for the whole day and stay in a nearby accommodation overnight. We either camp at a local caravan park or stay at other accommodation.

Over a weekend, we then arrange to meet up for a second day early in the morning usually at the same central meeting location - and do it all again. Our objective is to visit every mound at each site every year. This gives us the ability to calculate population trends over time for the site, and across Australia. All monitoring data is entered into the National Malleefowl Monitoring Database for analysis. Walking through the bush using GPS means we follow a straight-line approach and this can involve navigating through thick bush at times. Walking for long periods in the heat of the day can be tiring, which is why we request a suitable level of fitness.

We need everyone to wear appropriate clothing (i.e. long-sleeved shirt/long pants), walking boots (or sturdy enclosed thick-soled footwear), a sunhat, sunglasses (or safety specs) and gloves (garden gloves are good). We will provide high-vis vests for everyone. You will also need to carry a small rucksack with two litres of water, and light snacks. Additionally, we encourage people to bring their mobile phones (those in range), a small compass and a whistle - just in case. The group will remain together for the duration of the monitoring and we walk at the pace of the slowest, of course. All monitoring equipment and a first-aid kit are carried by the supervisor of the group. We are usually within Telstra range, but we also take UHF radios so that each group can talk to the other during the day, to coordinate our movements.

For everyone who volunteers with us, we register you as a DBCA volunteer - which means your hours are recorded and everyone is covered by their volunteer insurance. We conduct an OHS talk at the start to explain the day's hazards and risks for the site we are visiting. It can be hot exhausting work but particularly gratifying when we come across an active mound during surveying, and on the rare occasion, you may even get to see a Malleefowl.

   PLEASE BE AWARE: Malleefowl monitoring can require high levels of  physical exertion in hot and/or remote locations. We walk on average 7 to 10 kilometers a day when conducting monitoring and through thick bush.