2015 – 2016
This project was prompted by a curious rice grower who photographed some strange birds in his crop. These birds were identified as Australian Bitterns, and endangered species.
This triggered the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, Birdlife Australia, Murrumbidgee Landcare, Riverina Local Land Services and other organisations to come together to learn more about bitterns and see what could be done to aid their conservation. Since 2012 the Bitterns in Rice project has now been uncovering the well-guarded secrets of Australia’s “Bunyip Bird”, and raising awareness of its plight.
Bitterns arrive in rice crops in our region about two months after sowing and begin nesting once there is sufficient cover. We now know that rice growers in the Riverina are custodians of the largest known breeding population in the world!