Together with many thousands of volunteers, we’ve been conducting these counts since the Grey-headed Flying-foxes arrived at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne in 1986, which makes it part of the longest-running monitoring program of any bat colony in the world. I have been co-ordinating these flyout counts in Melbourne since about 2000, when I was employed at the Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology. After ARCUE closed in late 2016, I decided to continue this important work through the ecological consulting and research company I established, called Ecology and Infrastructure International, Pty Ltd. More info about EII is available here.
This data is critical for monitoring the size and health of the colony. Numbers vary seasonally as more than half of the local population migrates north each winter as food availability changes. This affects the movements of the entire species up and down the east coast of Australia. The data we collect is also shared with Government Departments involved in management of the species and its habitat.
Over the years, thousands of volunteers have contributed tens of thousands of hours towards monitoring the size of the colony, which provides vital information essential to management of the species. We’re always looking for new volunteers and all this couldn’t have been possible with them so we are extremely lucky and grateful for all their help.
Thanks for your help!
Rod van der Ree