Early birds prompt celebration on World Migratory Bird Day in Adelaide

A keen group of bird enthusiasts attended a World Migratory Bird Day event held at St Kilda, South Australia, by Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (FAIBS) on Sunday 10th October.

Foreshore viewing with Flock Oz ©️Mary-Ann Van Trigt

Attendees enjoyed celebrating the arrival of early migratory bird returnees to Gulf St Vincent at the completion of their amazing annual breeding journey to Northern Hemisphere tundra areas.

Many of these incredible birds fly over 20,000 km each year, some stopping only once or twice along each leg of the way. Exhausted on arrival back here, they busily feed on our shores over summer to rebuild condition and energy before once again beginning their return journey to the north.

Celebrations began with bird viewing using telescopes on the embankment. Participants were treated to six obligingly close migratory Bar-tailed Godwits while a Common Greenshank foraged further up the shore.

Resident Oystercatchers and Caspian Terns also delighted the viewers, together with vividly hand-painted ‘Flock Oz’ birds scattered through the nearby vegetation.

Bar-tailed Godwits ©️Anna Woods

A short film was shown about The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, titled ‘Winaityinaityi Pangkara – The Country of the Birds’. Its beautiful photography and music was locally produced earlier this year by professional film makers and musicians, Simone Slattery and Anthony Albrecht of the Bowerbird Collective and funded by the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership Small Grants.

Screening of “Winaityinaityi Pangkara – The Country of the Birds” ©️Maree Merchant

Kaurna elders Jeffrey Newchurch and Lynette Crocker, along with Ecologist Joan Gibbs, were present at this event and also featured in the film highlighting this unique habitat and Indigenous connections to the area and its birds.

Jeffrey then spoke in person to group, adding perspectives on the significance of Kaurna people and culture in this area and its links to the East Asian-Australasian Flyway which spans from Gulf St Vincent, Southern Australia and NZ to the Arctic tundra and surrounding breeding grounds.

Jeffrey and Lynette were congratulated on their recent awards as NAIDOC SA Male and Female of the Year respectively, just recognition for their extensive and outstanding long term contributions to community. They were thanked for the many hours they have generously put into FAIBS and AIBS related projects, including the film, as well as contributions to a national award winning history project ‘Truth Telling’, on exhibition in Adelaide at Glenelg’s Bay Discovery Centre.

Kaurna Elder Lynette Crocker with FAIBS Secretary Anna Woods. ©️Maree Merchant

A morning tea of enticing tasty treats concluded the event and allowed time for participants to chat and view the various resources on display.

In addition to the Kaurna Elders, thanks are due to BirdLife Australia, Green Adelaide, National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Bowerbird Collective, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership and our volunteers, all of whom in various ways contributed to the success of this event. Sponsorship included the Sharing our Shores with Coastal Wildlife Project.

Information about FAIBS’ activities is posted on the Friends of Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary Facebook page. Enquiries can be made to [email protected]


Prepared by Maree Merchant & Anna Woods

Winaityinaityi Pangkara – The Country of the Birds


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