PIP News

Coast count 2023 – can you help?

Photo copyright Scott Ritchie

The new TIP season has started! Target dates for 2023 counts are 17, 18 and 19 November. If those days are unsuitable for you, any nearby dates can be substituted.

Itโ€™s most valuable if you repeat your count on 2 or 3 successive days, and if possible repeat your count in mid-December and mid-January. If you counted the same site previously, please try to count near the same day of the month each time.

This Birdlife Citizen Science project is gathering long-term data about Torresian Imperial Pigeons (TIPs) in Queensland. These birds, also known as Pied imperial pigeons (PIPs) or Torres Strait Pigeons, have a hugely important ecological role in dispersing seeds of our native forest fruits. Read more here:

The current round of counts, guidelines and data sheets

Background about these special birds

PIPs/TIPs are back for the new season ๐Ÿ˜Š

First reports for the 2023-24 breeding season came from Torres Strait. Flocks of 20 to 50 were seen winging their way south from early August through September, often flying very low over the sea, heading into extremely strong winds.

People in and around Cairns began reporting TIP flocks from mid August. Even earlier in July a few individuals had been sighted but the latter were likely stragglers that had missed the winter migration.

The first TIP nests in Cairns were spotted in early September and almost a hundred had been recorded by early October.

Townsville’s first sighting was reported at the end of August. The first nest was spotted in mid-September, with another in late September.

Many thanks to early-season reporters Jon, Bernie, Brian, Shane, Carolyn, Gerry and Jenny!

Photo: Julia Hazel

Coast count results online, many thanks to participants!

Our coast count map has been updated to include all results so far received for the 2022-23 season.

More than 250 people* have participated since the coast counts began in 2007, many thanks to one and all!, and HUGE thanks to those wonderful people who keep on counting every year ๐Ÿ˜

*If your name is missing above, please let us know which site(s) and which year(s) you counted, so we can update the count records.

More coast counters needed please Nov 2022

We are putting out an urgent call for more TIP coast counters on or near the target dates for 2022, November 18,1 9 and 20. Some very important sites are still in need of counters: Cowley Beach, South Mission Beach and Yorkeys Knob. If you can help, please email Rebel Warren rebelwarren51@gmail.com

Many thanks to the wonderful people who have already responded!

First arrivals for the new season Aug 2022

First urban sightings for the new season were in Cairns where Carolyn spotted 3 TIPs/PIPs in the city on 12 August. Next, a single bird was spotted by Sally on 14 August, and another spotted by Gerry on 16 August. First flocks reported were seen flying south over the water in Torres Strait by Greg on 16 August and by Jon on 20 August. Many thanks to all for reporting new sightings.

Photo courtesy of Russell Cumming

Welcome to our new Coast Count Coordinator

We warmly welcome Rebel Warren as our new Coast Count Coordinator. Many thanks to Rebel for taking on the role. Julia Hazel will continue as Project Manager.

Rebel is starting to plan the coast counts for 2021. Shortly she will contact the wonderful people who counted last year. She’s also keen to hear from anyone interested in getting involved in Coast Counts.

Coast counts are a great way to turn an afternoon at the beach into a valuable contribution to bird conservation, and it’s not difficult – you don’t need to be an expert birder to do this.

For more information please contact Rebel on 0407 914 318 or email rebelwarren51@gmail.com

PIPs/TIPs return for a new season – Aug 2021

It’s always a delight to hear about TIPs/PIPs returning to Queensland for another breeding season.

We already knew they were on their way: thanks to Jon for reporting the first small flock he saw flying south past Muralug Beach (Torres Strait) on 18 July in strong winds.

Thanks to Brian, Carolyn and Gerry for reporting their “firsts” for new arrivals in Cairns during the second and third week of August. Thanks to Jenny for the first report in Townsville on 23 August.

Can you help with December or January Coast Counts?

With the PIP season still in full swing, we are seeking more volunteers to continue the Coast Count series.

Whatโ€™s involved? Go to your count site on the coast, keep watch from 4pm until dusk, and record the number of Torresian/Pied Imperial pigeons as they fly from the land out to sea. These distinctive birds are easy to identify when they fly out in the open. You donโ€™t need to be an expert birder.

To get started, just download the count guidelines and datasheets here.

Many locations need to be covered. If you have chosen a count site, or would like help in choosing one, please contact Julia Hazel on 0407 431 382 or email: Julia.hazel@jcu.edu.au

You can see previous count results here.