5th February 2018
The Bookend Trust have this week launched a Pozible crowd-funding campaign, to ensure that their new project - Where Where Wedgie - can include the whole community. Where Where Wedgie aims to share the joy and science of Tasmania's birds of prey, with a special focus on the state's wedge-tailed eagles, culminating in a survey of these species at the end of May.
Everyone, of all ages and across Tasmania, is invited to participate in the Where Where Wedgie survey, to obtain baseline data on how this threatened species is tracking. Tasmanian wedge-tailed eagles are listed as Endangered.
Could there be fewer than a thousand? Assessments in previous decades indicated that the wedge-tailed eagle population was declining and made up of fewer than 1000 adult birds. Survey success depends on inspiring enough people to train up and participate.
Tasmania's Department of Education is funding the schools component of Where Where Wedgie, but the Bookend Trust is still seeking financial support to run community workshops and other training and promotional resources.
'For the general public, these workshops are the human side of the project,' said Dr Clare Hawkins, threatened species zoologist and citizen science coordinator for the Bookend Trust. 'We're building some wonderful resources online to enthuse potential participants, explain the survey methods and get everyone's skills up - but nothing beats talking it over face to face.'
The Trust is hoping to raise $20,000, which would enable them to deliver at least 18 workshops across the state.
The Pozible campaign includes rewards ranging from a cute project car sticker featuring a soaring wedge-tailed eagle to tickets on a Pennicott Wilderness Cruise.
Dr Clare Hawkins explained, 'The survey methods are simple, but it's really helpful to be able to discuss and demonstrate them in person, and also to bring together everyone who might be interested. These workshops will provide a chance for people to share their experiences of wedge-tailed eagles and other birds of prey, to learn from each other and to form a bit of a team across their local area.'
Where Where Wedgie's snapshot, statewide survey is a new approach. Dr Hawkins is hoping that the project will enable Tasmanians to obtain high quality, up-to-date information on the state of their eagles and other birds of prey.
If the work goes well, the Where Where Wedgie survey will become an annual event to track the population, with student and community volunteers helping us all better understand the biology and conservation needs of these iconic birds.