Bush picnic with the brolgas

By Geoff Adams

Under the waning skies of a northern Victorian spring, a gathering of residents, farmers and environmentalists heard about one of Australia's largest birds and its connection with the region.

The Harston Landcare Group and Goulburn Murray Landcare Network, organised a bush picnic on the evening of Friday, November 1, at Stockyard Plain, to celebrate brolgas.

As the sun slipped lower in the sky, Jo Deretic from the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority described what is known about the magnificent birds, which may only number about 60 pairs in northern Victoria.

The Stockyard Plain area has been set aside to encourage nesting by brolgas (and other native species), but a pair of brolgas has chosen to nest on a nearby dairy farm owned by Duncan and Emily Crawford.

A chick was born in September and the Crawfords are now trying to manage the location so they can encourage the birds to stay.

Ms Deretic said brolgas were classified as vulnerable in Victoria and not a lot was known about where they travel to and why they move about.

They usually nest between July and November and have a clutch of up to three eggs. A new chick can fly at about 14 weeks.

Brolgas have been known to live up to 40 years.

Stockyard Plain has been public land for many years but more recently has been managed by Harston Landcare Group.

Brolgas have been seen on the 260ha property, but no-one has seen any evidence of nesting yet.