Celebrating a landscape revival: 24 years of Regent Honeyeater habitat restoration

Volunteers have planted more than 125,000 trees and shrubs to recreate habit in the Capertee Valley.
Volunteers have planted more than 125,000 trees and shrubs to recreate habit in the Capertee Valley.

The Capertee Valley Regent Honeyeater Recovery Project is celebrating 24 years of work with a special planting day on Saturday, May 5.

The Regent Honeyeater is listed as critically endangered with an estimated population of just 400 birds remaining in the wild.

The Capertee Valley is the most important breeding area in the country for the Regent, and Birdlife Australia volunteers and local landholders have played a leading role in the restoration of their habitat.

This Regent Honeyeater in the Capertee Valley is one of only 400 estimated to be still living in the wild (image from Matt Baker).

This Regent Honeyeater in the Capertee Valley is one of only 400 estimated to be still living in the wild (image from Matt Baker).

“They were all quite small and scattered all over the valley, because they were the only type of sites we could get,” Iain Paterson, Birdlife Australia Project Committee chair, said. “As time went on, we were getting offered more properties and we were finding people who wanted to plant bigger areas.”

Landholder April Mills has worked with the volunteers who travelled.

“I’m really grateful to these people who came away from their homes and spent weekends in the valley, doing the digging, and the hard work,” she said. “It’s been extraordinary how this project has changed the landscape, which before was empty.”

Over 125,000 trees and shrubs have been planted across 260Ha since 1994.

“We conservatively estimate that volunteers have given over 2500 hours of their time each year over the past eight years. That's 20,000 hours since we started funding the recovery efforts in 2010, and far more across the total life of the project,” said Huw Evans of Central Tablelands Local Land Services.

“We are already finding other threatened and declining woodland birds are using the plantings, such as Hooded Robins, Brown Treecreepers, Diamond Firetails, Speckled Warblers and Black-chinned Honeyeaters to name just a few.”

We conservatively estimate that volunteers have given over 2500 hours of their time each year over the past eight years. That's 20,000 hours since we started funding the recovery efforts in 2010, and far more across the total life of the project.

Huw Evans, Central Tablelands Local Land Services.

As the trees mature over the next 30 to 40 years, they will substantially extend the breeding habitat.

Volunteers will head to the Capertee Valley on May 5 to plant about 3000 trees and shrubs. With a dinner at Glen Alice that evening, followed by the launch of a video of the life of the project.

The project is supported by LLS with funding from the Australian Government. For more info contact Huw Evans on (02) 6350 3117 or huw.evans@lls.nsw.gov.au