Traditional and management stories about birds were shared among ranger groups and landowners at a special meeting held at Barrapunta (Emu Springs) this week.
The meeting saw Jawoyn, Mimal, Warddeken, Arafura Swamp and Wardaman Rangers join with landowners, linguists, scientists, bird tourism and environmental groups in the hope that sharing traditional and balanda stories and knowledge of birds will help improve how to manage country for birds and look at future economic opportunities.
“The old people knew everything about birds and animals but in every place old people are passing on and knowledge is going down,” Mimal CEO Alfred Rickson.
“By bringing people from many areas together we hope to strengthen knowledge through sharing and learning from each other.”
Jawoyn Rangers presented work they have been doing with Territory Natural Resource Management on work to improve Gouldian Finch populations.
The Gouldian Finch was once amongst the most common finches of North Australia, but it is now listed as an endangered species.
Other groups discussed the work they are doing to improve bird populations on their country, Importantly, some species once thought virtually wiped from country, such as emus, have been making a comeback since fire management regimes have been reintroduced to country.
The meeting also focused on language names, stories and songs of birds, from the brown falcon that hunts with fire and owls that fish in rivers and streams.
Bird tourism is also offering new economic opportunities for landowners with half a dozen rare species of birds found only in Arnhem Land.
The groups hope to meet again in the near future, and Mimal Land Management is hoping to make a small book with stories shared during the meeting to help people everywhere better appreciate the work that rangers are doing and our indigenous knowledge of birds.