State: SA | 54,390 hectares | Owner: Birds Australia
Regent parrot | David Cook Wildlife Photography
Covering almost 55,000 hectares near Waikerie in South Australia, Gluepot Reserve is a paradise for birds. Almost 200 different bird species have been recorded there, including nationally threatened birds such as the regent parrot (pictured), scarlet-chested parrot, red-lored whistler and striated grasswren.
Of all the reserve's winged residents, the endangered black-eared miner is the most significant. This shy honeyeater was the main reason Birds Australia set out to protect Gluepot more than a decade ago.
Black-eared miners were once considered common within their mallee habitat. However with the loss and modification of old growth mallee in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia the species was considered nearly extinct by the 1990s.
Sightings of black-eared miners in the Gluepot area in 1996 sparked a major effort by Birds Australia to purchase and protect the property. The Gluepot Reserve was born in 1997, with Birds Australia harnessing $360,000 from thousands of generous donors. The Australian Government's National Reserve System program supported this magnificent effort with a grant of $80,000 to develop a management plan and monitoring program for Gluepot.
Today about 100 colonies of black-eared miners live on the reserve.
Gluepot is part of the largest block of intact mallee left in south-eastern Australia. Alongside its prolific birdlife, the reserve's diverse patchwork of habitat supports nearly 50 species of reptile, 17 species of mammal and four species of frog.
Volunteers are the life-blood of the reserve. People from all over Australia and the rest of the world donate more than 20,000 hours of their time to help manage the reserve every year. It has also become a centre for scientific research, with 14 Australian universities and research institutions conducting ongoing research projects on the reserve.