The Birds of Altona's Coastal Wetlands

Next date: Thursday, 25 April 2024 | 04:00 AM to Saturday, 04 May 2024 | 01:00 PM


A ten-week program on the identification and conservation of birds in the Point Cook to Williamstown international shorebird habitat.

Discover the fascinating world of birds around Port Phillip Bay and the Altona region with skilled ornithologist Kevin Wood. This in-person and in-depth masterclass will be a unique opportunity to learn about this site of international significance and how to identify and protect the region’s threatened birds.


Kevin Wood is one of Australia’s foremost authorities on avifauna conservation in Port Phillip Bay. He is currently serving as Deputy Chair of the Wetlands Centre and has a long professional career in coastal, wetland and waterway management. He has provided many years of voluntary service working with community groups monitoring bird populations in Port Phillip’s coastal wetlands. As a coastal planner Kevin produced the first comprehensive review of bird habitats in and around Port Phillip Bay, a site of international significance for birds. Over the next 20 years he led planning projects to conserve bird habitats undergoing change , including the Williamstown Rifle Range, the Altona coast , the Laverton Saltworks, and Melbourne Water’s Western Treatment Plant. In 1989 he developed the Victorian Government’s strategy for the conservation and sustainable use of Port Phillip Bay.


The masterclass will consist of ten (10) weekly sessions on Saturday mornings that will focus separately on the birds of the region and their habitats, their conservation status and needs, and how to identify them in field surveys.

Each session will run for three hours and be divided into two parts. The first will allow participants to learn in depth about the significance and conservation priorities of this major international bird habitat. The second, for those who wish to extend this knowledge into conservation action, practical learning on identifying birds and conducting field surveys of local wetlands with experienced birders.

Topics covered:

A range of topics will be presented to enable participants to understand the birdlife of the region with an introduction to their physiology, evolution, flight, seasonal movements and migration. This will be followed by a detailed description of the birds that are found in Port Phillip Bay, how they use the habitats there, and how these habitats have changed over time. Detailed information will be provided on the significance, conservation status and populations trends of the birds, as well as an outline of the planning initiatives relevant to bird conservation.

For those interested in observing and surveying birds, there will be instruction each week on how to identify the varied birds of the region using field guides. The data platforms and monitoring programs that are available will be discussed to assist in contributing to existing conservation programs.

The important topic of ethical birding will also be examined.


You will gain

  • An excellent knowledge of local birdlife and their conservation status
  • An understanding of the significance of the Cheetham & Altona KBA and the importance of wetlands
  • The ability to confidently identify birds using binoculars and field guides
  • The opportunity to collect scientifically valid data on bird populations in the wetlands
  • The satisfaction of making a difference to our important conservation areas

Ongoing Bird Monitoring Program:

We are keen to hear from you if you are interested in bird conservation and wish help identify and monitor birdlife within the Cheetham & Altona Key Biodiversity Area, an internationally significant (Ramsar listed) coastal wetland. This special area needs dedicated and trained volunteers to identify and monitor bird activity for ongoing conservation programs.

By taking part in this invaluable bird identification training, you can be part of an important scientific bird monitoring program. This will provide a credible body of data to inform management authorities and enhance their ability to make sound decisions on habitat management and future planning initiatives.

The Hobsons Bay Wetlands Centre was proudly appointed the Guardian of the Cheetham & Altona KBA in 2020 by Birdlife Australia and continues to maintain the bird monitoring program of this special area established by Kevin Wood in 1988.



  • Saturday, 17 February 2024 | 10:00 AM - Saturday, 04 May 2024 | 01:00 PM


The aim is to educate interested community members about birdlife as well as provide the opportunity to become involved in ongoing scientific data collection on birdlife in Key Biodiversity Areas.
This masterclass is subsidised by a grant from the Wettenal Foundation.

Altona Library Meeting Room, 123 Queen Street, Altona, 3018, View Map

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