Conservation Research Grants


The South Australian Ornithological Association Inc. (Birds SA) has a strong and proud legacy of supporting the science of birds and their conservation in South Australia.

Some noteworthy milestones:

1900A checklist of Australian Birds was approved after 18 meetings of the 'List Committee'
1911The translocation of the Mallee Fowl hens to Kangaroo Island was the first ever translocation of native Australian birds
1914The South Australian Ornithologist (Part 1) first published
1923First edition of Birds of South Australia was published
1953First modern State bird list was released
1962First edition of an annotated bird list of SA, including subspecies was published and continues today
2009Conservation Fund set up to award small research grants for studies on birds, their habitats and conservation
2014Publication of species distribution maps for SA



Birds SA gives small research grants to eligible students and community research groups up to a maximum of $10,000 maximum to support in various research areas of bird conservation science undertaken  by graduate students and community researchers. Applications studying bird species/populations in South Australia are encouraged and preferred.  South Australian species which have distributions mostly outside of South Australia may be considered under special conservation circumstances.  The Conservation Fund is administered by the Conservation Fund Committee.

Grant Calls

Calls for grant applications close 31 March and 30 September each year.

In special circumstances, the Committee may consider an application outside of the calls but first please contact the Secretary of the Conservation Fund Committee. 

Applications for the March call are considered in April and the September one in October of the same year.

Focal Research Areas

Applications that cover the focal areas below are likely to be supported. They are:

    1. Projects that investigate factors relating to declining or threatened species of birds.
    2. Projects that increase knowledge and understanding of birds and their habitats.
    3. Projects relating to management and conservation of birds and their habitats.
    4. Research into birds and their habitats must be principally in South Australia, and occasionally outside of the State where the value of the research contributes to the conservation of South Australian bird populations. 

Applications are encouraged from research institutions for supervised project funding at the Honours Degree, Masters Degree and PhD levels and projects conducted by the research community  linked to South Australian universities and nature conservation NGOs. Applications are also encouraged from community researchers not aligned to any institution but have a professional scientist as a mentor.

Funding levels

The maximum funding per application is restricted by the duration of the research project:

    • 1 year: up to $3,000 per grant

(e.g., full-time Honours Degree or Graduate Diploma research or a community research project such as an analysis of bird banding data)

    • 2 years: up to $6,000 per grant

(e.g., full-time Masters Degree research or a community survey project like one needed for addressing an upcoming potential government inquiry)

    • 3 years: up to $10,000 per grant

(e.g., full-time PhD student or a community research project such as the breeding success of Osprey towers)

A Special Circumstances Grant of $10,000 may be awarded in a single year where outcomes from the research are workable and able to be implemented with confidence after completion of the study. Inquiries about these grants should be forwarded to the Secretary of the Conservation Fund Committee for consideration by the Committee before submission.

To Apply

Read the information below carefully before submitting your application for a Birds SA Conservation Fund grant.

    1.  Applicant guidelines 
    2.  Grant application form (pdf, docx)
    3.  Email application to Secretary , the Conservation Fund Committee

More information

Contact the Secretary, the Conservation Fund Committee. 



If research is conducted in a park, the prerequisite of the Department of Environment and Water (DEW)  Scientific Permit requires a minimum dataset, which contributes to the Biological Database of SA (BDBSA). This is the most direct way to ensure that records become part of corporate data in the South Australian government, which is used for development assessment decisions, EBPC referral decisions, any species distribution and trend modelling and other purposes. There is a specific format for a ‘minimum required data’ that aligns with the database and makes it simple to incorporate. 

Researchers are encouraged also to deposit and publish their research data in TERN’s SHARED data submission tool to receive a data citation. These data (including derived data) can then be used many years later in meta-analyses. 




Coggan, Rachael, (The University of Adelaide), “How does the Bassian Thrush respond to fire in the Mount Lofty Ranges, South Australia?” (2021-2022). (Final report December 2021). An article published in The Birder (2021), 259:26. (Focal area: 1 – bird behaviour, 3 – changing fire impact)

Gardner, Janet (Australian National University) “How does climate change affect arid zone birds? (2021-2022). (Final report received 2022). An article was published in The Birder (2022), 263: 27-30. (Focal area: 3 – Climate change impact)

Packer, Jasmin (The University of Adelaide), “Extending habitat suitability mapping to the breeding outcomes of endangered southern emu-wrens in Watchalunga Nature Reserve: Stage 2 of a collaborative vision for the Watchalunga Precinct” (2018-2022). (Final report received 2022). (Focal area: 1 – bird knowledge, 2 – habitat suitability).

Spooner, Kaitlyn (Australian National University), “Nest site preferences of the Jacky Winter – the role of nest site selection in adapting to extreme heat” (2020 -2022). (Final Report received in late 2022). An article was published in The Birder (2022), 263: 27-30. (Focal area: 1 – nesting behaviour, 3 – climate change impact)


Falkenberg, Ian (Community researcher), “A pilot project to assess the Wedge-tailed Eagle (Aquila audax) population and breeding and foraging habitats in the Mid North of South Australia” (2021 – 2021). Final report to be submitted. (Focal area: 1 – bird knowledge, 3 –  wind farm impact)

Markos, Daniel (The University of Adelaide). “Habitat use by White-browed Babblers in a modified landscape” (2021 -2021). (Final report received 2021). Honours Thesis. (Focal area: 1 – habitat use, 3 – impact of habitat modification)


Jones, Karl (The University of Adelaide), “Review of the Population Status of Striated Grasswren (Amytornis striatus) on Eyre Peninsula and in the Yellabinna Region, South Australia” (2020-2021). (Final received 2021). An article was published in The Birder (2022), 262: 20-24. (Focal area: 1 – habitat use, 2 – habitat preferences,  3- habitat modification, conservation status)


Gardner, Janet and Yang, Kevin. (Australian National University),  “Effects of temperature on breeding behaviour on the body condition in Jacky Winter (Microeca fascinans) during the nesting period(2019-2020). (Final Report received in 2020). An article was published in The Birder (2020), 256:20-21. (Focal area: 1 – nesting behaviour, 3 – climate change impact)

( bold – indicates graduate student or community researcher)