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Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00pm
(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)


Wimmera event to celebrate how Australian birds changed the world

Mar 31, 2018
Organisers ask that people book online HERE for Celebrating Landcare & National Harmony Day with Tim Low for catering purposes by March 19.

MalleefowlMalleefowl by Jonathan Starks
When internationally renowned Brisbane-based biologist and author Tim Low speaks about birds in Horsham next week you can expect stories of song, beauty and intelligence.

Low, bestselling author of Where Song Began, is keynote speaker at a Wimmera Landcare and Harmony Day event in Horsham Town Hall on March 21.

The free event, Celebrating Landcare & National Harmony Day, will focus on how Australian birds spread their music around the world. Barengi Gadjin Land Council and Wimmera CMA are hosting the event, which starts at 5.30pm. 

Wotjobaluk dancers and nature sound recordist Andrew Skeoch will also be special guests. The evening will feature local artwork including never before exhibited original illustrations for the Tuckfields Tea bird card series by the late Grampians artist Sue McInnes. Oasis Wimmera will also prepare a multicultural supper.

Where Song Began
Low’s internationally bestselling book Where Song Began explores how every song bird in the world came out of the Australia. It also gives insight into the distinctiveness of Australian birds in their extremes of size, behaviour and song, and how they came to be that way.

“We have highly intelligent groups of birds and this gives you quite spectacular outcomes. We have some of the world’s most strangely behaved birds such as the Malleefowl which nests in sand, as well as the world’s best vocalist, the lyrebird,” Tim says.

“Our birds are distinctive and powerful, and exert more influence on forests that any other birds. Take the noisy minors. They dominate forests and drive out other birds so they can monopolise the food sources.”

Captivating story
Choughs, widespread across Australia including the Wimmera, tell another captivating story, regularly engaging in wars and kidnapping. 

“These big black birds look like crows have the weirdest calls. Magpies dislike them because they eat the same food, the insects found in leaf litter. When you see these two warring races in rural landscapes, it’s quite fascinating,” he says. 

And the kidnapping? Tim says a pair of choughs is unable to find enough food for their young so they kidnap young birds from other pairs and enlist them as helpers.

Highly dynamic
Tim’s passion for Australian birds stems from their untold stories and the highly dynamic way birds adapt to human interaction and changes in the environment.

 “In the last 20 years, genetic research shows that Australia is the ancestral home of all the world’s songbirds, and many of the world’s parrots, and they are so intelligent. Our birds have such a widespread global influence. There is a huge story to be told about our birds, how they’ve evolved and where they came from.”

When Tim travels overseas, with his bird notebook in his pocket, he says it becomes overwhelmingly clear why so many people are curious about Australian birds. 

“In urban areas of Britain you have tiny tits and robins, with pigeons being one of the biggest they’ll get. Compare that to here where we have cockatoos, currawongs, magpies and kookaburras. As well as this, our birds get up close and look you in the eye. 

“We can take them for granted because we are so used to having them interact with us in our daily life. We are used to them being so in your face, loud, up close and aggressive. But this is completely foreign to overseas visitors and the way they interact with their birds. There is so much to learn about the complex lives and epic dramas that play out between Australian birds.”

This event is supported by Wimmera CMA through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.