National Bird Week: a treat in our own backyard in Forbes

Gum Swamp, just 4km south of Forbes, is host to more than 160 species of birds including (inset) sulphur-crested cockatoos, hard-headed magpie geese and species of ducks.
Gum Swamp, just 4km south of Forbes, is host to more than 160 species of birds including (inset) sulphur-crested cockatoos, hard-headed magpie geese and species of ducks.

This week is National Bird Week, the week of the Aussie Backyard Bird Count, and there's no better place to be than Forbes - with Gum Swamp right on our doorstep.

Gum Swamp is a unique wildlife sanctuary, with an extensive array of birds in their natural habitat.

Forbes Arts Society is completing installation of three new two-storey bird hides at the site, and they're going to be an incredible asset for those wanting to appreciate the area.

The original bird hide, built in 1992 with support from Dick Smith, Australian Geographic and local community groups, has also had a makeover.

"The existing bird hide has been a tremendous community and tourism asset for close to 30 years, so we are delighted to see it refurbished to be utilised for decades to come," Forbes Arts Society's Chairperson, Dr Karen Ritchie, said.

Forbes Arts Society says Gum Swamp hosts 161 variations of birds and is a haven not just for twitchers but anyone who loves nature and wants to experience these species living on and around the swamp.

The area is currently home to a pair of nesting sea eagles, peregrine falcon, whistling kite, blue-billed ducks, freckled duck, pink ear duck, glossy ibis, grey and chestnut teal, hard head magpie geese, swans and cygnets, sacred kingfishers and sand spoonbills.

MORE TO COME: One of the new two-storey bird hides being installed at Gum Swamp. Picture: Supplied

MORE TO COME: One of the new two-storey bird hides being installed at Gum Swamp. Picture: Supplied

"The landscape lends itself to a diverse range of opportunities," Dr Ritchie said.

"We hope that this redevelopment will attract new user groups, including photographers, artists, health and wellness enthusiasts, and those wishing to just immerse themselves in nature."

The Gum Swamp redevelopment is part of the $7 million 'Boosting the Lachlan Valley Economy Art Project', proudly funded by the NSW Government's Restart NSW program through the Regional Lachlan Valley region as a premier tourism destination.

Located just four kilometres from the Forbes CBD along the Newell Highway, Gum Swamp is a nationally significant site for ornithology (study of birds) and amateur twitchers will have four, unobtrusive vantage points from which to observe over 160 bird species.