Macquarie researcher presents at International Bird Symposium

Yuna Kim, a PhD student in Macquarie’s Graduate School of the Environment, recently joined international researchers at the fifth International Symposium on Migratory Birds, held on the island of Jeungdo in South Korea.

Yuna joined speakers from Russia, Japan and Korea in presenting their research on the status and conservation of seabirds in Asia.

A recent recipient of the Stuart Leslie Bird Research Award, Yuna’s work is concentrated on the restoration of 52 seabird islands in New South Wales.

22 species of seabirds, many of them are threatened, breed on these islands. Yuna has been studying one particular breed of bird called the Gould’s petrel (Pterodrama Leucoptera).

Yuna Kim (fourth from left) joins fellow researchers on a visit to nearby Chilbaldo Island, an important bird breeding site.

She informed the symposium of the successful use to geolocators to follow the foraging movements of the petrel, which breeds on Cabbage Tree Island.

“While the conservation issues at the breeding sites are well understood, their movements when at sea were unknown until new small geolocators were attached to the birds,” says Yuna.

Extensive studies and research were initially undertaken to ensure the geolocators would not negatively impact the bird.

Once it was determined that the tracking devices had no impact, the researchers made themselves familiar with the foraging behaviour and travel routes of the birds outside of the breeding season.

Yuna noted that their research methods could be successfully adapted for other threatened species in Asia.

“This method could be used as a tool for the conservation of Swinhoe’s storm petrel, which 75% of the world population breed in Korea,” she noted.

Read more about research in the Graduate School of the Environment.