We are happy to welcome a new project to the SPOTTERON platform this month. As you can tell by the name, „Brushturkeys - birds in suburbia“ is all about Australian Brushturkeys extending their natural habitat, which usually includes rainforests and woodlands, to suburban areas.
The birds that were close to extinction in the 1930s can now be spotted in cities like Sydney or Brisbane. Their spreading into people’s backyards is probably also due to them gaining legal protection in the 1970s. What makes them rather unpleasant guests for well groomed garden areas is their unique reproductive behaviour: instead of using their body heat to breed their eggs, the males build massive mounds of up to 3 tonnes of weight in which they bury and then leave their eggs. After the hatching they are mostly left to themselves, this makes it quite astonishing, that even though cities should be quite dangerous playgrounds to these newborns, the population is still on the rise especially in these areas.
That’s why the Taronga Conservation Society, the Royal Botanic Garden and the University of Sydney now want to team up with Citizen Scientists to collect data on sightings and thereby better understand both their population dynamics and social behaviour.
For the data collection, sightings of brush turkeys (grownups and chicks), their mounds, roosts and other traces are added via the Citizen Science apps for Android and iOS or the interactive browser map.
PhD Student Matt Hall won the SPOTTERON Competition of the Australian Citizen Science Conference with this project this year and will collect data with the help of the apps for at least two years. We are very exited what conclusions will be drwan and invite all Australians (or visitors of Australia) to participate in this project!