Batting for the button-quail in Birdwood Sanctuary.

There are are only TWO known locations within the local survey area: Redwood Park on the eastern escarpment, and in a patch of remnant dry vine scrub at "Birdwood Sanctuary" just west of Gowrie Junction. Both populations are vulnerable, particularly the latter, as the vine scrub flanks a plateau on which a significant rural residential development is imminent. Fifteen of the 54 acre blocks border the key buttton-quail habitat, which is located on the southern side of the plateau. The button-quail could certainly do with a conservation-minded philanthropist buying up the lot!

Moderator: Mick Atzeni

Batting for the button-quail in Birdwood Sanctuary.

Postby Mick Atzeni » Sun Sep 07, 2008 10:03 pm

In March 1999, Black-breasted Button-quail (BBBQ) were a surprise discovery west of Toowoomba. Club members, Gloria Glass and Nicci Thompson, found them at a property on Baxter’s Hill, just west of Gowrie Junction. The property was on the market at the time.

The property has since been sold again, this time for development. The 55ha of remnant dry vine scrub will become a wildlife sanctuary flanking the Birdwood Sanctuary Estate currently under development. Major earthworks have just begun this month. The plan can be viewed at:


Having being denied access after it was sold back in 1999, we were thrilled when the developer, Queensland Property & Investment P/L (QPI), gave us access again. We started monthly surveys this winter. Even without the spring migrants, we've already compiled a healthy list, which I'll post separately, the undisputed highlight being a Grey Falcon overhead on 22 June. A lifer, and a new bird for the club's survey area.

The sanctuary is good news all round. However, we are still concerned the BBBQ may be wiped out if cats are allowed on the estate. One irresponsible cat owner could be all it takes. We raised this concern with QPI last week, and suggested a complete ban on cats would be best, and are awaiting their reply.

We don’t know how many BBBQ are present, but more than likely they're the only ones left in the entire district. What’s more, the birds appear to be confined to the southern and southwestern part of the reserve, which is steeper and supports better habitat. We have been consistently finding fresh platelets in the vine scrub behind blocks 13, 14 and 15 but have not seen any birds so far. It's difficult looking for them as there are no tracks to speak of. For that reason, we have not yet covered the whole southern section thoroughly.

The scrub was probably part of what was referred to as “Gowrie Scrub” on early BBBQ specimens collected in the late-1800’s, which is all the more reason to ensure this population is given every chance to survive. To that end, to back up our case for a cat ban, it would be good to have supporting evidence.

Are there any records of BBBQs being killed by cats? Of other species of button-quail killed by cats? Photos anyone???

Has any declining BBBQ population been attributed directly to cat predation?

In your own experience with BBBQ, which populations, if any, appear to have declined and what do you suspect the reason is?

Look forward to your feedback!

Last edited by Mick Atzeni on Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Michael Atzeni
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Birdwood Sanctuary

Postby Mick Atzeni » Fri Sep 10, 2010 9:04 pm

I haven't been to Birdwood Sanctuary for a long time but I note some of the blocks I mentioned bordering the area frequented by Black-breasted Button-quails have been sold.

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Let's hope the purchasers are appreciative of what's on their back door step and keep any eye out for them for us.

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