Threatened species play 'top gun' for Pollinator Week

This week (12-19 November) marks national Pollinator Week, and the NSW Government Saving our Species (SoS) program is helping threatened species in NSW to continue flying their life-saving missions for our native plants.

Regent honeyeater (Xanthomyza phrygia)

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Saving Our Species Manager Linda Bell said Australian Pollinator Week is a reminder of just how vital this process is for the successful reproductive cycle of our plants.

"Pollination really drives biodiversity with a wide range of animals, birds and insects transferring pollen during their nectar-feeding," said Ms Bell.

"Our highly mobile pollinators – birds and bats – can fly several hundred kilometres and disperse their precious cargo over large areas."

One flagship example is the Critically Endangered Regent Honeyeater – a threatened woodland bird with an estimated population as low as 350 in NSW – and Saving Our Species is helping to protect this rare bird.

Senior Threatened Species Project Officer Dr Sarah Bell said that the striking black and yellow Regent Honeyeater feeds mainly on the nectar from a relatively small number of eucalypts that produce high volumes of nectar – for instance, the Mugga Ironbark, Yellow Box and White Box.

"This top pollinator will travel up to 400 kilometres in search of nectar from specific trees, and has the ability to know where these trees will be flowering," said Dr Bell.

Dr Bell, who is based at Dubbo, monitors projects being delivered in four targeted areas including Capertee Valley near the Blue Mountains, the Lower Hunter Valley, Bundara-Barraba and Mudgee/Wollar. The project complements the Saving Our Species Partnership Grant funded by the NSW Environmental Trust Project and delivered by Bird Life Australia.

"These are sites where the birds regularly turn up each year in response to regional patterns in the flowering of key tree species," said Dr Bell.

Saving Our Species (SoS) is providing funding of close to $90,000 for Regent Honeyeater projects in New South Wales.

Capertee bird tours

OEH's Vera Wong and the SoS team have organised guided Regent Honeyeater Discovery Tours led by local bird expert Carol Probits in Capertee to help manage visitor disturbance.

Tours will depart Sat 18 November (9-11am and 4-6pm); Thurs 23 November (4-6pm); Sun 26 Nov (9-11am and 4-6pm); and Sat 2 Dececember (9-11am and 4-6pm).

For more information go to Regent honeyeater birdwatching tour

Find out more

The Saving Our Species program aims to secure as many threatened species as possible in the wild for the next 100 years and the NSW Government has invested $100 million over 5 years in this program.

To read more about pollinators in New South Wales go to Planting to conserve threatened nomadic pollinators in NSW