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The Floating Roost Trial: A novel solution to losses in migratory shorebird habitat | Permanent Link

July 8, 2021

If you missed our program about the floating roosts in the Yellow Sea, Birdlife Australia has a permanent video, also produced and presented by Chris Purnell. Time: 42 minutes.

Want to donate to this project? Contribute directly to Birdlife Australia. In the “Comments” section tell them it’s for the “Floating Roost Project.”

“Getbol, Korean Tidal Flats” inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List
EAAFlyway.net | 26 July 2021
Cool photos, short new report video

On 26th July, 2021, the 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee endorsed the inscription of the Republic of Korea’s tidal flats on the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List, marking an enormous step forward to secure the critical habitats of the Yellow Sea for millions of migratory waterbirds that depend on this area as a vital stopover on their migratory journeys from as far away as Australia and New Zealand to breeding grounds in Arctic Russia and Alaska.

Chris Purnell created a shorter video on the project. Time: 14 minutes.

About above video:
Chris Purnell (BirdLife Australia) presents “Trialing Floating Artificial Shorebird habitat: a response to losses in the upper intertidal zone”as part of Session 4: Foraging and roosting held online on Nov. 3, 2020 at the 1st East Asian-Australasian Flyway Shorebird Science Meeting.

Articles in the news

Artificial roosts for migratory birds journeying from the Arctic prove popular in Korea, but not in Australia
ABC Newcastle | Ben Millington | 1 Jul 2020

Repurposed Oyster Farm Bags Offer New Real Estate for Migratory Birds
Scientific American | Priyanka Runwal | 4 Mar 2020

South Korea’s artificial floating roosts: a lifeline for migratory shorebirds
BirdLife International | Ding-Li Yong | 15 Oct 2019

Contact information for Chris Purnell

Floating Roost Trial – Contact Page
Geum Estuary Project – Information & Videos



The Floating Roost Trial: a novel solution to losses in migratory shorebird habitat.

Appropriate high tide roosts (resting areas) are necessary to help migratory shorebirds maintain a positive energy balance while making journeys of over 10,000 km to and from breeding grounds. However in many areas of the Yellow Sea coast these areas are the first to be affected by development and disturbance. Our surveys of one critical staging area identified that 6 of the 7 natural roosts were only available to birds on 44% of high tides. During these periods it is estimated that over ten thousand birds may be without appropriate local roosting opportunities.

In response to this issue the project promoted established responses to artificial roost construction, however due to the urgency of the requirement and recent changes to legislation forbidding construction on intertidal areas, we were forced to think outside the box. BirdLife looked to an unlikely partner, the oyster farmers of Australia. Floating oyster farm infrastructure is utilized by shorebirds in the east coast of Australia. We developed the Floating Roost Trial by optimizing commercially available materials as roost sites in highly modified coastlines. Two years later we have some positive results from phase 1 and are looking forward to phase 2.

With a background in field ecology, Chris Purnell now manages BirdLife Australia’s Wetland Birds Program, overseeing and implementing a portfolio of works focusing on conservation outcomes for the unique birds of Australia’s diverse wetland types – from coastal sites to arid ephemeral wetlands. Chris’ current project focus includes the effective use and delivery of environmental water, species recovery of Australian Painted-snipe and Australasian Bittern and shorebird conservation management in Indigenous Protected Areas and the Republic of Korea.

Platforms, adapted from oyster farming, staked out at low tide; come high tide they’ll be afloat.


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