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Annual Woodhen Survey on hold for 2023 due to priority work

As resources for the ‘catch-up’ helicopter winch programs are prioritised over summer, a hold will be placed on this year’s Woodhen Census survey. 

The previous Woodhen Survey conducted in December 2022 recorded the highest population number since the surveys began in 1985 (a total of 1147 individuals across the Island). Woodhen populations have significantly increased since the 2019 Rodent Eradication Program and numbers are well above 250 individuals, which was previously thought to be the Island’s carrying capacity. 

The annual survey will recommence in November 2024. LHIB and bird population experts from NSW Department of Planning and Environment have confidence that the Woodhens will continue to maintain a healthy population level for the Island over the next year.


A graph showing woodhen survey numbers increasing between 1985 and 2020
Woodhen numbers recorded in surveys since 1985

An evolution in survey methods

As Woodhen numbers grow, additional resources are required to band all new individuals. The 2022 surveys required a team of 10-12 people and took place over almost 15 days due to the increase in birds within the settlement.

LHIB have sought advice from specialised fauna survey ecologists about alternative monitoring techniques. These methods will be in place from 2025, as the focus shifts from recording absolute numbers to observing population trends.

2024 will be the final year that the hand netting and banding technique will be in place.

The annual Woodhen Census Survey is internationally recognised as one of the longest conducted ongoing avian census surveys.

Reducing Woodhen roadkill
We continue to record roadkill incidents on the Island. Woodhen roadkill is one of the biggest human-associated impacts on the species.

To minimise deaths, LHIB ask that you do not feed birds near roadsides and remain within the 25km hour speed limit.

Report roadkill to the LHIB Environment Team to help us collect data to manage the impact of roadkill on the species: 6563 2066 or [email protected]

All reports will remain confidential. Only the location and band number (if applicable) will be recorded on the register.