A PROGRAM to host more regent honeyeaters in the Chiltern forest has proved a success.
Wildlife officers are thrilled 75 per cent of the rare birds released in April have survived.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries biodiversity officer Glen Johnson said 28 out of 37 regent honeyeaters let out of captivity into the Chiltern-Mount Pilot National Park this year were found alive last week.
“It’s really remarkable for a captive release,” Mr Johnson said.
“It’s lucky to get 25 per cent through the first winter — this is a great boost to the wild population.
“We’re hopeful that like last year we’ll again be able to demonstrate successful breeding between captive release and wild birds later in the year.”
Mr Johnson said other birds were discovered from earlier releases that began in 2008.
“Last week’s survey also identified three surviving birds from the 2010 release,” he said.
“That brings to nine the number of birds known to have survived for more than 12 months after 2010.
“That’s really significant given that we’ve only found one wild bird in the area this year.”
Mr Johnson said the previously captive birds are identified by different coloured leg bands and he urged sightings to be reported to the Department of Primary Industries.