MELBOURNE NEWS

Sustainability

Wren watchers wanted in Royal Park

An adult male superb fairy-wren with coloured leg bands Photo: Stuart Riley

Become a ‘wren watcher’ to help us understand where superb fairy-wrens are living in Melbourne. Your feedback will help us plan vegetation works to improve habitat for small birds. 

We want to find out where superb fairy-wrens live and forage in Parkville. And, importantly, where they’re not. 

So we’re asking the community to become a ‘wren watcher’ by conducting a 15-minute ‘wren watch’ in one of 50 survey areas and reporting your sightings via the BioCollect app. 

By learning where the fairy-wrens are, and are not, we can make sure future work to improve habitat happens where it’s most needed. 

An adult male superb fairy-wren with coloured leg bands Photo: Stuart Riley
An adult male superb fairy-wren with coloured leg bands
Photo: Stuart Riley

Three steps to become a wren watcher

  1. Pick a spot
    Head to one of our 50 suggested survey areas in Royal Park and surrounds. Choose a single site or use our walkable maps to visit a cluster of sites in a single expedition. Stop and watch for 15 minutes.
  2. Watch carefully
    Count all the superb fairy-wrens and any other small birds you see. Zoom in using binoculars or your phone to see if any have coloured leg bands, which show where the birds were first found. Take photos if you can.
  3. Submit your sightings
    Record your notes and observations through the BioCollect app, or write down your observations on paper and then enter them on the project website or via the app later. If you notice a fairy-wren outside of the a designated survey area, drop a pin to create a new location in the app.
A juvenile female superb fairy-wren mid-song Photo: Andrew Silcocks
A juvenile female superb fairy-wren mid-song
Photo: Andrew Silcocks

To learn more and download the full survey handbook, visit Superb City Wrens – An urban citizen-science project.

You can also contact nature@melbourne.vic.gov.au with any questions, or connect with other ‘wrenthusiasts’ on the Superb City Wrens Facebook page.

The Superb City Wrens project is a partnership between the City of Melbourne, BirdLife Australia, RMIT University and the University of Melbourne. 

A banded non-breeding male superb fairy-wren
Photo: Peter Petinatos

About superb fairy-wrens 

Superb fairy-wrens are found throughout south-eastern Australia, commonly in urban parks and gardens with dense understorey plants. 

They forage for insects on the ground and below shrubs, which makes them vulnerable to predators and habitat loss from urbanisation. 

You can identify adult breeding males by their bright blue and black plumage around the head and throat, which is brightest during the breeding season from spring to late summer. 

Females, juveniles and non-breeding males have greyish-brown plumage, males often with a blue tail. Females and juveniles also have distinctive red-orange colouring around their eyes and bills. 

A fairy-wren nest
Photo: Lea-Ann Ledden

More green adventures 

Love nature? After you’ve completed your wren watch, discover 10 ways to tune in with trees and mindful activities to do in our urban forest.

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