The Bird Conservation Fund supports applied scientific research, via an annual postgraduate scholarship focusing on critical knowledge gaps in bird conservation across Tasmania. Find out more about past recipients, and how to apply, below.

The Bird Conservation Fund Scholarship is worth up to $5000, and is given annually to a postgraduate scholar focusing on critical knowledge gaps in bird conservation across Tasmania. By pioneering an innovative, scientifically robust, repeatable and cost-effective monitoring program incorporating applied research, the TLC’s Bird Conservation Fund is helping address bird species decline.

Applications for the next round of scholarships will open in March 2021, with details on how to apply provided then.

Award value

Grant value is cash funding up to $3,000 for Honours, $4,000 for Masters and $5,000 for PhD or Post-doctoral research project. Typically one grant is awarded annually with the potential of two grants if both projects are deemed worthy. Funding amounts may be varied from time-to-time at the commencement of a new funding round.

Funds can be used for:

  • purchase or assistance with any aspect of the project deemed necessary
  • travel to conferences within Australia and abroad by students to deliver a presentation or contribute a paper or poster related to their research.

The funds are not available for salary, to increase a stipend or as personal cash payments.


  • Applications are open mainly to Honours, Masters, PhD and Post-doctoral students.
  • Students are only eligible for funding toward current (not retrospective) research undertaken at an approved Australian tertiary institution.
  • Award funds are provided on the strict understanding that funds will be exempt from institutional administration charges.
  • The student’s work must be wholly or majority focused in Tasmania and or related to issues directly relevant to the conservation of Australian native bird species.
  • A group project may be considered providing a key researcher is involved.
  • Students are only eligible for one award during the life of their project.

previous recipients

2020: Amy Wing

2020’s recipient, Amy Wing, is an Honours student at the University of Tasmania. She is investigating how manna produced by white gums - an important food for forty-spotted pardalotes - varies across populations.

Project summary

The manna produced by white gums (Eucalyptus viminalis) is a crucial food resource for many animals, including the endangered forty-spotted pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) found in southern Tasmania. Manna is a sugary secretion produced from wounds on the leaves, stems or branches caused by insect bites but also by the hooked beak of the forty-spotted pardalote.

Under the supervision of Dr. Geoff While, Assoc. Prof. Julianne O’Reilly-Wapstra, and Dr. Peter Harrison, Amy’s project will investigate whether the quality and quantity of manna varies between populations of E. viminalis and across environments using multi-population common-garden field trials established on a wet and dry site. Results from this study will be linked back to natural populations of E. viminalis on Bruny Island where the forty-spotted pardalote co-occurs to ascertain whether the quality and quantity of manna, in part, underpins their restricted distribution. The specific aims of this project are to better understand the chemical composition of manna and how genetics and the environment interact to shape manna quality and quantity. Results from this study will benefit the in situ and ex situ conservation of the forty-spotted pardalote as well as present a conceptual framework upon which to study other plant resources, such as nectar, that are critical for threatened and endangered animals.

2019: Erin Harris

Erin Harris received the first ever Bird Conservation Fund Scholarship. The University of Tasmania Masters student investigated the effectiveness of eagle nest protection zones.

Little is known about the efficacy of covenants on eagle nests in Tasmania, and Erin’s work will help determine if prescriptions are working and how management may differ on nests found on unprotected land.

Project summary

Over the last two decades conservation covenants have become the primary mechanism for securing important biodiversity values outcomes on private land in Tasmania, including the protection of threatened eagle nests.Eagle ecology in Tasmania and the role of conservation covenants on nests is a complex issue with environmental and social components both playing an influencing role.

With a view to understanding the effectiveness of conservation covenants in providing adequate protection of eagle breeding sites, University of Tasmania Master of Environmental Management student Erin Harris, under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Harwood (UTAS), Dr. Sally Bryant (TLC) and Nick Mooney, documented the activity status of eagle nests during the 2018-2019 breeding season across three management regimes: Private land protected by Covenants; Permanent Timber Production Zones and unprotected private freehold land. Furthermore, Erin also conducted social surveys and interviews with private landholders of covenanted and non-covenanted properties to understand why landholders engage in conservation covenanting programs, their attitudes towards these programs and eagle nest protection and how covenants change their land management practices.