Now You See Us
A Public Art project based on the 84 species of threatened birds in the City of Greater Geelong.
Dr Mary-Jane Walker is a scientist and practicing artist. Her work centres on our relationship with the natural world and has a particular interest in the visual communication of ideas about climate change and our response and emotional blockages to this issue.
Mary-Jane’s work began with her realisation of the scale of threat to local species in the City of Greater Geelong which happening before our very eyes, in every local area, and yet remains largely ignored.
This work is designed to be a public art installation based on the 84 species of threatened birds found in the City of Greater Geelong listed under the Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria (DSE 2013) . In 2021 the Advisory list was replaced by the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Threatened List 2021.
The project is intended to highlight the scale of risk happening at the local level, all over Australia, as we enter the global era of the Anthropocene, the age of man’s overwhelming influence on the planet.
Artist, Mary-Jane Walker wanted to highlight the scale of this threat by focusing on just the birds, in the first instance, creating a large murmuration of sculptural birds based on the 84 species affected. This would be made by a collective of selected local artists and would be displayed in a public place with the birds both standing and in flight depending on the species for maximum impact.
Importantly, the focus of the work is also positive and a call to action. It would highlight the sort of activities that the City of Greater Geelong is doing in conservation of habitats, for example, revegetation of the Barwon River with native species. The aim is get the attention and support of the public for this vital issue and conservation research and work.
Threatened Birds in City of Greater Geelong
Victorian conservation status
|EW||Extinct in Wild|
| || |
|Advisory list (2013)|| |
FFG threatened list
Greater Geelong City – threatened birds
|Australasian Bittern||Botaurus poiciloptilus||EN||CR|
|Australian Little Bittern||Ixobrychus minutus||EN||EN|
|Australian Painted Snipe||Rostratula benghalensis||CR||CR|
|Australian Pratincole||Stiltia isabella||NT||-|
|Australasian Shoveler||Anas rhynchotis||VU||VU|
|Azure Kingfisher||Alcedo azurea||NT||-|
|Baillon's Crake||Porzana pusilla||VU||-|
|Barking Owl||Ninox connivens||EN||CR|
|Black Falcon||Falco subniger||VU||CR|
|Black-browed Albatross||Thalassarche melanophris||VU||-|
|Black-chinned Honeyeater||Melithreptus gularis||NT||-|
|Black-eared Cuckoo||Chrysococcyx osculans||NT||-|
|Black-faced Cormorant||Phalacrocorax fuscescens||NT||-|
|Black-tailed Godwit||Limosa limosa||VU||CR|
|Blue-billed Duck||Oxyura australis||EN||VU|
|Brown Treecreeper||Climacteris picumnus victoriae||NT||-|
|Bush Stone-curlew||Burhinus grallariu||EN||CR|
|Caspian Tern||Sterna caspia||NT||VU|
|Chestnut-rumped Heathwren||Hylacola pyrrhopygia||VU||VU|
|Common Diving-Petrel||Pelecanoides urinatrix||NT||-|
|Common Sandpiper||Actitis hypoleucos||VU||VU|
|Diamond Dove||Geopelia cuneata||NT||VU|
|Diamond Firetail||Stagonopleura guttata||NT||VU|
|Eastern Curlew||Numenius madagascariensis||VU||CR|
|Eastern Great Egret||Ardea modesta||VU||VU|
|Elegant Parrot||Neophema elegans||VU||VU|
|Fairy Prion||Pachyptila turtur||VU||-|
|Fairy Tern||Sterna nereis||EN||CR|
|Freckled Duck||Stictonetta naevosa||EN||EN|
|Glossy Ibis||Plegadis falcinellus||NT||-|
|Great Knot||Calidris tenuirostris||EN||CR|
|Greater Sand Plover||Charadrius leschenaultii||VU||VU|
|Grey Goshawk||Accipiter novaehollandiae||VU||EN|
|Grey Plover||Pluvialis squatarola||EN||VU|
|Grey-crowned Babbler||Pomatostomus temporalis||EN||VU|
|Grey-headed Albatross||Thalassarche chrysostoma||VU||EN|
|Grey-tailed Tattler||Heteroscelus brevipes||CR||CR|
|Gull-billed Tern||Sterna nilotica||EN||EN|
|Hooded Plover||Thinornis rubricollis||VU||VU|
|Hooded Robin||Melanodryas cucullata||NT||VU|
|Intermediate Egret||Ardea intermedia||EN||-|
|Latham's Snipe||Gallinago hardwickii||NT||-|
|Lesser Sand Plover||Charadrius mongolus||VU||EN|
|Lewin's Rail||Rallus pectoralis||VU||VU|
|Little Eagle||Hieraaetus morphnoides||-||VU|
|Little Egret||Egretta garzetta nigripes||EN||EN|
|Little Tern||Sterna albifrons||VU||CR|
|Magpie Goose||Anseranas semipalmata||NT||VU|
|Major Mitchell's Cockatoo||Cacatua leadbeateri||VU||CR|
|Masked Owl||Tyto novaehollandiae||EN||CR|
|Musk Duck||Biziura lobata||VU||VU|
|Nankeen Night Heron||Nycticorax caledonicus||NT||-|
|Northern Giant-Petrel||Macronectes halli||NT||EN|
|Orange-bellied Parrot||Neophema chrysogaster||CR||CR|
|Pacific Golden Plover||Pluvialis fuva||VU||VU|
|Pacific Gull||Larus pacificus||NT||-|
|Painted Honeyeater||Grantiella picta||VU||VU|
|Pectoral Sandpiper||Calidris melanotos||NT||-|
|Pied Cormorant||Phalacrocorax varius||NT||-|
|Plumed Egret||Ardea intermedia plumifera||-||CR|
|Powerful Owl||Ninox strenua||VU||VU|
|Red Knot||Calidris canutus||EN||EN|
|Regent Honeyeater||Xanthomyza phrygia||CR||CR|
|Royal Spoonbill||Platalea regia||NT||-|
|Rufous Bristlebird (Otway)||Dasyornis broadbenti caryochrous||NT||VU|
|Rufous Fieldwren||Calamanthus campestris||NT||-|
|Shy Albatross||Diomedea cauta||VU||EN|
|Sooty Oystercatcher||Haematopus fuliginosus||NT||-|
|Southern Giant-Petrel||Macronectes giganteus||VU||EN|
|Speckled Warbler||Chthonicola sagittata||VU||EN|
|Spotted Harrier||Circus assimilis||NT||-|
|Spotted Quail-thrush||Cinclosoma punctatum||NT||-|
|Swift Parrot||Lathamus discolor||EN||CR|
|Terek Sandpiper||Xenus cinereus||EN||EN|
|Wandering Albatross||Diomedea exulans||EN||CR|
|Whiskered Tern||Chlidonias hybridus||NT||-|
|White-bellied Sea-Eagle||Haliaeetus leucogaster||VU||EN|
|White-faced Storm-Petrel||Pelagodroma marina||NT||-|
|White-fronted Tern||Sterna striata||NT||-|
|White-winged Black Tern||Chlidonias leucopterus||NT||-|
|Wood Sandpiper||Tringa glareola||VU||EN|
|White-throated Needletail||Hirundapus caudacutus||-||VU|
|Yellow-nosed Albatross||Thalassarche chlororhynchos||VU||CR|
Note: Reassessment of species conservation status for the FFG Threatened List is undertaken in a whole of Victoria context and does not necessarily reflect local status.
Art work in the images below are lead by Mary-Jane Walker with supporting artists Jen Tostevin and Rob Cuttler.
Ixobrychus minutus - Endangered (DSE 2013) to Critically Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021)
How to help: protect and restore wetland habitat, control foxes and feral cats.
Australian Little Bittern
Ixobrychus dubius - Endangered
How to help: report any sightings, advocate for wetland protection at previously known areas, fox and feral cat control.
Alcedo azurea - Near Threatened (DSE 2013) to not threatened on (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: protect known Azure Kingfisher habitat, particularly water quality and riparian zones.
Ninox connivens connivens - Endangered (DSE 2013) to Critically Engangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: limit wildfires and excessive burning which results in a loss of suitable hollow bearing trees, this impacts on both nesting sites and habitat for prey species. Work with Parks Victoria and private landholders on installing artificial nest boxes for prey species.
Melithreptus gularis gularis - Near Threatened (DSE 2013) to not threatened on (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: retain Eucalypt paddock trees and restoring landscape connectivity using River Red Gum, Box and Ironbark Eucalypts with a shrubby understorey including acacias.
Grus rubicunda - Vulnerable (DSE 2013) to Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: report Brolga sightings, especially pairing and nesting. Landholders can contribute to feral cat and fox control around known Brolga wetlands. Limit grazing on wetlands where Brolgas occur. Local Government needs to ensure housing and other developments do not encroach on known Brolga habitat.
Stagonopleura guttata - Near Threatened (DSE 2013) to Vulnerable (FFG Threatened List 2021).
Numenius madagascariensis - Vulnerable (DSE 2013) to Critically Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: report sightings, advocate for protection of wetlands and restrictions on developments in known Eastern Curlew habitat. Local Government and land managers need to ensure control of feral cats and foxes around wetlands.
Thinornis rubricollis - Vulnerable (DSE 2013) reassessed as Vulnerable (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: join in to be a volunteer with Birdlife’s beach nesting program. Keep dogs off beaches and away from Hooded Plovers during nesting time (August to February). Encourage land managers to undertake feral cat and fox control, particularly near the last few known Hooded Plover nesting areas.
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
Cacatua leadbeateri - Vulnerable (DSE 2013) to Critically Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: report sightings, retain mature paddock trees in the You Yangs area. Join in with any revegetation programs being organised by Landcare or Parks Victoria.
Neophema chrysogaster - Critically Endangered (DSE 2013) reassessed as Critically Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: join in with Birdlife’s Orange-bellied parrot monitoring program over the winter months.
Pedionomus torquatus - Critically Endangered (DSE 2013) reassessed as Critically Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
The Plains-wanderer inhabits native grasslands with a mosaic of grasses and herbs, leaf litter and bare ground where it forages for grass, saltbush seeds and insects. There has been a dramatic reduction in habitat which has impacted on the population across its range in Victoria. The last known records in the City of Greater Geelong were in the 1980’s in the northern grassland areas around Avalon and the north of the You Yangs.
How to help: protect existing remnant native grasslands and create grassland habitat corridors to form bio-linkages. Possible areas could be selected for re-introduction via Zoos Victoria captive breeding program.
More about conservation and management of the Plains-wanderer
Xanthomyza phrygia - Critically Endangered (DSE 2013) reassessed as Critically Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: join in with Birdlife’s twice annual national regent honeyeater count weekends being on 3rd weekend in May and the 1st weekend in August. Volunteer in the Regent Honeyeater revegetation project in northern Victoria. Landholders should retain paddock trees and revegetate where possible. Regent Honeyeaters show a consistent preference for just four eucalypt species: Mugga Ironbark Eucalyptus sideroxylon, White Box Eucalyptus albens, Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora and Yellow Gum Eucalyptus leucoxylon. All four species flower profusely and have especially rich nectar flows.
Diomedea cauta - Vulnerable (DSE 2013) to Endangered (FFG Threatened List 2021).
How to help: support efforts to reduce discarded fishing line and plastics. Report sightings.
Circus assimilis - Near Threatened (DSE 2013) reassessed to not threatened (FFG Threatened List 2021)
How to help: report sightings.
References and data source
Threatened Birds Table Data Source:
- FFG Act Threatened list (2021) Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Threatened List , Department of Environment, Land, Water & planning 2021
- DSE (2013) Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria (2013) (Legacy document only) - now replaced by FFG Threatened List 2021)
- VBA (2020) Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning, Victoria, February 2020.
- VVB (2020) Visualising Victoria's Biodiversity,