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12 Nov 2017

Reconnect with the small birds of Centennial Park

The ‘wild outer’ part of Centennial Park, outside the loop of Grand Drive, provides important habitat for native plants and animals, especially bird life.

Centennial Parklands is one of the easiest urban birdwatching vantage points in Sydney, on an average day you can easily see 50 bird species over its 360 hectares. There are plenty of big birds we’re sure you are familiar with, such as the Black Swans (9,000 g) and Australian White Ibis (2,100 g). But what about the small birds? Did you know we have species such as the Superb Fairy-wrens (10 g), Yellow Thornbills (6 g), Silvereyes (11 g), or New Holland Honeyeaters (20 g)? These are a few of the smaller birds that can be seen in the wilder areas of the Park with a little birdwatching practice.

When is the best time to go birdwatching?

Summer is one of the best times as the little ones start to leave the nest in their transition from nestling to fledgling. Visitors will have the best luck in spotting these birds in areas around Centennial Park that contain complex vegetation, especially in areas with shrubs so the ‘wild outer’ part is ideal. The habitat provides foraging opportunities (nectar, fruit, seeds, insects) and, importantly, shelter for smaller wildlife such as the Superb Fairy-wren. It is our vision to increase the habitat value of the ‘wild outer park’.

New initiative with local students

Over the past two years, University of Technology Sydney (UTS) design students and Centennial Parklands have collaborated with the aim of increasing visitor awareness of the ecological biodiversity in the Park. Our newest initiative, located in the Learners Cycleway in Centennial Park, is aimed at reconnecting visitors with the smaller native birds by showcasing how remarkable they truly are!

Why small birds?

The new designs play an important role in ecological education by creating a visual context through engaging signage. This helps enhance the presence of the less conspicuous creatures that are sometimes overlooked, like the small birds depicted in these installations.

Where are the installations located?

The artwork installed around the children’s cycleway was designed by Masters students at the UTS, Hanan Bou Akl and Alfredo Racilla, in consultation with their lecturer Dr Tom Lee and Centennial Park ecologist Dr John Martin. Here you will learn the sounds and characteristics of the Superb Fairy-wrens, Yellow Thornbills, Silvereyes, and New Holland Honeyeaters that visit the Park.

If you’re quiet enough you’ll notice the distinctive sounds of many bird species across Centennial Park. Tell us which birds you can hear and see by tagging us on Instagram or using the hashtag #birdhabitat.

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