About the Friends

My photo
Yellingbo, Woori Yallock Creek sub-catchment, Australia
Have you ever wanted to contribute to conservation of a threatened species? The Helmeted Honeyeater is Victoria's state emblem and is listed as: 1. Critically endangered (DSE Advisory List Of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna In Victoria - 2007) 2. Threatened (Victorian Govt. Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988) 3. Critically endangered (Federal Govt. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) Can people make a difference to this bird's long-term survival? We believe anyone can. Check out the 'Take action' button on our homepage (www.helmetedhoneyeater.org.au), then contact us for more details.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Unusual sighting today

A lucky few wound up their bird survey today seeing a female Turquoise Parrot on the fringe of bushland and farmland in Yellingbo.

Not since November 1990 has a Turquoise Parrot been seen here. One very excited Ornithologist, who did his Masters on Turquoise Parrots in and around north-eastern Victoria, called this the sight of the day!

The Turquoise Parrot is considered vulnerable in New South Wales, and threatened in Victoria. Until the 1880's, the Turquoise Parrot was considered the most common species of parrot in Western Sydney. It was considered extinct in the wild by 1915. By the 1920's it was recovering. They had formerly been caught in large numbers for the cage bird industry, and were also shot for food, as a pie-filling.

It's a tough life being a beautiful bird. 

It may not be a great sign that a 'Turq' was seen today. They are found from south-eastern Queensland, through New South Wales to eastern and north-eastern Victoria. The range was formerly more extensive. They are generally resident in an area, but some local seasonal movement occurs. It's a very dry year over the Divide. Is this driving at least one Turq down south?

Just one more example of the benefit of wildlife refuges throughout the landscape.

Go to Birds in Backyards to find out more about this species

Breeding update

The last 2014-15 breeding season update was mid November. At the end of November we now know of:
  • 20 breeding territories (16 last season)
  • 27 fledglings (36 last season)
  • 5 females on nestling/s
  • 8 females on egg/s
  • 3 females building nests
There are more Helmeted Honeyeaters at Yellingbo than at any time in the Helmeted Honeyeater Recovery Programs history (the Recovery Program began in 1989). How good is that?

Do you live in Melbourne, Victoria? Would you like to be part of the volunteer team that monitors the Helmeted Honeyeater populations at Yellingbo? Most volunteers contribute a minimum of 4-5 hrs one day a month. Our rosters operate 7 days p/wk, 365 days p/yr. Contact us for further details.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Honouring Ken Simpson

Ken Simpson
Memorial planting site - image B.Tardif
This morning over 30 people came together to remember the life of Ken Simpson.

800 habitat plants were planted in honour of Ken alongside the creek in Yellingbo NCR.

Ken was a passionate naturalist and a keen observer of birds and their habitat. He had a strong commitment to education and welcomed each opportunity to share his incredible knowledge.

Ken's memorial planting, incorporating a suite of plant species that Helmeted Honeyeaters require for ongoing survival, will be the backdrop for the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeaters upcoming outdoor classroom space.

Vale Ken Simpson.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Where are the birds? Where could we release Helmeteds in the future?

These are just two of the aims for the upcoming Helmeted Honeyeater survey at Yellingbo NCR.

When? Sunday 30 November 2014

Can you help?

No prior experience required. Training provided on the day.

Click here for more details

Help us celebrate the life of Ken Simpson

Ken Simpson
Join us as we commemorate and celebrate the life and work of Ken Simpson with a special habitat restoration planting.
  • Saturday 22 November 2014
  • planting from 10am (continued after lunch if needed); lunch from 12.30pm 
NB. This event will be postponed if it is a day of high fire risk.
Venue: The depot, Shield Road (off Macclesfield Road), Yellingbo (Melways Map 305 Ref. F12)

: salad or dessert to share, plus plates/cutlery/cups. We will provide a BBQ lunch of sausages and veggie burgers, plus tea/coffee.

Please RSVP by 14 November for catering purposes
by email or phone (03) 5964 8341

Ken Simpson (29/8/38 - 9/7/14) was a distinguished ornithologist (bird specialist) and influenced so many people with his passion for the natural world. His enthusiasm for wildlife, birdlife in particular, was passed on to many. The Yarra Valley area was indeed fortunate to have Ken as the resident enthusiast ready to share his knowledge. The Friends were privileged to have Ken as their President in 2001. The 'birders' go to book 'Field Guide to the Birds of Australia' is a living testimony to Ken's knowledge, passion for birds and desire to share. Join us as we plant a living tribute to Ken alongside the Woori Yallock Creek. 800 Helmeted Honeyeater habitat plants will be planted.  

2014-15 breeding season update

Helmeted Honeyeater collecting nesting material - image B.Tardif
It's looking positive for the 2014-15 breeding season
Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve is home to the last remaining wild population of Helmeted Honeyeaters - in the world! Each bird is precious.

In the 2013-14 breeding season (Aug'13-Feb'14), 36 Helmeted Honeyeater young were raised at Yellingbo. A bumper year!

The 2014-15 breeding season is heading the same way. At the beginning of November 2014 we know of:
  • 26 fledglings
  • 3 females on egg/s
  • 1 female building nest
  • 1 female on nestling/s
There are a number of new pairings this year, including females who are breeding for the first time. How good is that?

Do you live in Melbourne, Victoria? Would you like to be part of the volunteer team that monitors the Helmeted Honeyeater populations at Yellingbo? Most volunteers contribute a minimum of 4-5 hrs one day a month. Our rosters operate 7 days p/wk, 365 days p/yr. Contact us for further details.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Aussie backyard bird count, 20-26 October

Australian King-Parrot - image B.Tardif
Join thousands of people between 20 — 26 October to take part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count — BirdLife Australia’s first nationwide bird survey. All it takes is 20 minutes in your backyard, or favourite outdoor space, local park, beach, forest or paddock, to be a part of this exciting event!
Find out more here

Sunday, September 28, 2014

18 Helmeted Honeyeaters released into Yellingbo

18 Helmeted Honeyeaters bred at Healesville Sanctuary were released into Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve recently; 5 on 17/9/14 and 13 on 25/9/14.

They join 90+ Helmeted Honeyeaters, plus 9 current fledglings from the 2014-15 breeding season.

Unbanded Helmeted Honeyeater - image B.Tardif
Colour leg bands, Helmeted Honeyeater - image B.Tardif
Do you live next door to Yellingbo NCR or Bunyip State Park? You may see Helmeted Honeyeaters on your property. If you do, please let us know.

Taking a photo is a great way to help us identify the bird you see. Does it have coloured bands? is it unbanded? Check out the images to see what we mean - the bands are on the legs.

Contact us here.

Would that be a LBP or a Sugar Glider?

Lowland Leadbeaters Possum - remote camera image
Lowland Leadbeaters Possums (LBPs) are critically endangered - only 40-60 remain in the wild and they are only known to exist at Yellingbo. They occupy the same habitat as Helmeted Honeyeaters at Yellingbo, as evidenced here, captured on a remote camera in June 2014.

Sugar Gliders are a similar size, and also live within Yellingbo NCR.

Sugar Glider - remote camera image
How can you tell the difference? Check out the tails. LBP's have club shaped tails (narrower at the base where it meets the body, and thinner at the tip of the tail). Sugar Gliders' tails are widest where it joins it's body and thinner at the end.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

6 nests nearing completion

The 2014-15 breeding season is on the go. 6 nests are nearly complete at Yellingbo, with more in the early stages of building.
An early season nest, mid July!, was abandoned around the same time the male partner went missing. The female has repaired and is building another nest. Fingers crossed for this one.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What happens beyond the locked gates?

What goes on beyond the locked Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve gates? 

Does it really matter if one species goes extinct?

Come and find out - Wed 20 Aug 2014

Helmeted Honeyeater - image B.Tardif
Spotted Pardalote - image B.Tardif
The Helmeted Honeyeater Recovery Program, Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater, Zoos Victoria and BirdLife Australia’s Threatened Bird Network are holding a workshop where you can learn more about the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater. Find out what you can do to assist with the Helmeted Honeyeaters recovery and how the work undertaken also protects many other threatened species that co-exist with it. 

When: Wednesday 20 August 2014
Where: 1217 Macclesfield Road, Yellingbo (Melway ref: 305 G11)
Times: 10.00am (for a 10.30 start) to 3.00pm (including 1.30-3.00 for planting Helmeted Honeyeater habitat)
           Morning tea and lunch provided (please RSVP so we can cater accordingly)
Bring along: binoculars and gumboots if you have them and hat/sunscreen/raincoat 
RSVP: Limited places available. Please RSVP by Wednesday 13 August 2014, to Meg Cullen, BirdLife Australia, meghan.cullen@birdlife.org.au

Saturday, February 8, 2014

2013-14 breeding season update

36 fledglings are currently being observed at Yellingbo NCR. A bumper season.

Are you looking for volunteer involvement in a threatened species program?

We currently have gaps in the 365 day p/yr supplementary feeding and monitoring roster.

Training and support provided. Would you like to find out more about what's involved? Contact Sue

Not everyone can contribute time. Members are our life blood. Download our membership/donation form here

More habitat - Thanks to the Judith Eardley Wildlife Fund

Yellingbo NCR - image S.Tardif

Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve is one of the Victorian sites selected for revegetation works under the state government's '2 Million Trees Program'.

Trees and shrubs over 2 metres are the reveg species selected under this Program. This is great, but thanks to the Judith Eardley Wildlife Fund, significant understorey species plantings will now complement and greatly enhance this Program.

Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater are key partners, with the Program being coordinated by Parks Victoria and Greening Australia. Read more here 

Photographer: Sue Tardif
Image: YNCR habitat