The Broome region is regarded as the most significant viewing site for shorebirds in Australia, and among the top four in the world. It has the greatest diversity of shorebirds species of any site on the planet and more than 800,000 birds visiting the area annually. The Bird Observatory was established by Birds Australia in 1988 as a centre for research and education with the aim of working for the conservation of migratory shorebirds which visit Roebuck Bay along with many endemic birds of Broome.
The observatory is manned by wardens and assistant wardens. We provide our visitors with accommodation, tours, courses and educational facilities which include a natural history library, and an audio/visual room. For more information visit the external website or read the Flyways blog.
2020 Northwest Australia Expedition
North-west Australia was “discovered” to be one of the prime locations in the world for wading birds during the first RAOU (BirdLife Australia) “Expedition” there in August/September 1981. It is now known to have a peak population of nearly 750,000 waders, with a huge variety of species (50, nearly a quarter of the 214 species of waders worldwide). It has also proved to be an ideal place for wader studies with a warm, sunny, dry climate for 10 months of the year (usually!). Furthermore there is easy accessibility to the principal wader areas at Roebuck Bay, Broome (150,000 birds) and 80 Mile Beach (500,000 birds). A series of special expeditions has taken place over the years, with the effort led over several decades by one of Australia’s most widely known experts on waders, the late Dr Clive Minton AM (1934-2019), to undertake comprehensive long-term studies of the waders and terns in N.W. Australia. A great deal has been learnt about our shorebirds from those expeditions and has been used for more effective conservation measures.
The 2020 scientific N.W. Australia Wader and Tern Expedition will take place from Friday 7 February to Sunday 1 March 2020, with experts from around the world expected in Broome. The fieldwork program will, as usual, principally consist of regular banding and appropriate counting of waders and terns at two locations (Broome and 80-Mile Beach). This year additional effort will again be put into scanning for leg flags and colour bands, particularly at 80 Mile Beach.
More on the work of BirdLife’s wader expert group AWSG can be found here: http://www.www.bianchun.tw/locations/australasian-wader-studies-group
While the Expedition itself is a research effort open to scientists, Broome Bird Observatory (BBO) in N.W. Australia is always a fantastic destination to visit, camp out and learn more about and observe birds year-round.
See www.broomebirdobservatory.com for more information on BBO and how to book your stay today!