‘Bunyip bird’ takes centre stage at 2022 Australasian Bittern Summit

The iconic Australasian Bittern is the focus of a summit in Leeton on 1-4 February 2022, designed to advance the conservation of this cryptic species.

The Australasian Bittern Conservation Summit 2022 is a unique opportunity to connect with scientists, conservationists, wetland managers, birdwatchers and farmers who share a passion for Bitterns, said Senior Local Land Services Officer and conference lead Anna Wilson.

“The Bittern holds a special place in Indigenous culture and Australian folklore, with its booming call thought to be behind the legend of the bunyip,” Ms Wilson said.

“Bitterns are listed as an endangered species in Australia and only about 2,000 birds remain globally, so we are keen to connect with people who have an interest in its survival.

“We encourage anyone interested in the Australasian Bittern to join us in Leeton, even if they can only attend for one of the days.”

Hosted by Riverina Local Land Services, the Summit is the first time such a conference has been held, offering an amazing opportunity to see and hear about all things Bittern.

The Summit offers an engaging program, with unique tours to the key Bittern wetlands of the Riverina, including the internationally recognised Fivebough Wetland and bittern-friendly rice crops.

Expert speakers from across Australia and New Zealand will cover a range of topics, including innovative monitoring methods, wetland management and restoration.

Ecologist and Summit Working Group member, Matt Herring, said there is a lot of exciting work happening in Bittern conservation and the Summit is a chance to hear from people at the cutting edge of threatened species conservation.

“Bitterns are considered a flagship species for encouraging healthy wetland management,” Mr Herring said.

“There are many novel and successful projects being undertaken to improve the outlook for this cryptic species.

“The Summit will bring together all those interested in this curious bird and is an opportunity to better support the long-term survival of the species.”

Conference tickets are available from www.lls.nsw.gov.au/bitternsummit

The conference is possible through the support of event partners SunRice and the Australian Government’s National Landcare program.

Other sponsors and supporters include:

  • Coleambally Irrigation Cooperative Limited
  • Murray Irrigation Limited
  • Murrumbidgee Irrigation Limited
  • Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
  • Murray Darling Basin Authority
  • Agrifutures
  • Rice Growers Association of Australia
  • Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Yenda Producers
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
  • Leeton Shire Council.

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