Our February presentation by Karyn Raines of the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) was wide-ranging and concentrated on the construction of the new parallel runway (NPR) and its environmental management.
The “jewel in the crown” of biodiversity at the airport is Lewin’s rail (Rallus pectoralis). The construction of the NPR meant that some of their habitat was lost. To offset, BAC converted 11 hectares of casuarina plantation to Lewin rail habitat. These shy, secretive ground-dwelling birds like thickly grassed areas to 60cm high which provide good cover. Four birds were injured during the relocation, but all survived, thanks to the help of vets at Sea World.
They are ideal airport dwellers as their low flight habits and their preferred habitat do not compromise aircraft safety. Brisbane Airport is one of the last remaining populations of the Lewin’s rail in Australia. They are such shy birds that often the only means of determining their presence is the “call-back”, when they answer a recording of their own call.
Their “near-threatened” listing has recently been lifted, possibly because of the success of the relocation program. Photo by Frankzed via Flickr