The miracle of shorebird migration on show in Albany and Denmark art exhibition

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Winter Light by Kati Thamo.
Camera IconWinter Light by Kati Thamo. Credit: Supplied/The Overwintering Project

A spectacular display of art by Australian and New Zealand artists depicting migratory shorebirds is on show in the Great Southern.

The Miracle of Shorebird Migration Art Exhibition is a collaboration between Melbourne artist Kate Gorringe-Smith and environmental groups in Denmark.

There will be 42 art pieces on display from Australian and New Zealand artists who submitted work to The Overwintering Project co-ordinated by Melbourne based Gorringe-Smith.

Artists were invited to contribute one print created in response to the unique nature of their local migratory shorebird habitat.

The prints are part of the Overwintering Project Print Portfolio, a print folio that will provide an in-depth personal response to coastlines and the sites that migratory shorebirds depend on to survive.

Every year from September to March, migratory shorebirds return from their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere to Australia’s wetland habitats — including Morley Beach on the Wilson Inlet in Denmark.

The migratory shorebirds will embark on a 10,000-12,000km journey home to the far north of the globe during March and April.

Larger species such as the bar-tailed godwit may travel 11,000km without stopping, losing up to 50 per cent of their bodyweight.

The journey for smaller species weighing about 35g is remarkable.

Of the 36 shorebird species that migrate to Australia, up to 20 species spend their time here in the Great Southern.

Albany artist Kati Thamo has her work Winter Light included in the portfolio that shows a plover wading the waters of Rushy Point in Little Grove.

The exhibition is currently on display at the Vancouver Arts Centre until February 28.

The showcase will then move to The Butter Factory Art Studios and Gallery in Denmark from February 17 to March 17.

Green Skills projects manager Basil Schur said the exhibition aimed to raise awareness around shorebirds.

“Just how amazing but how threatened these birds are, most species are in decline and face extinction unless we work together locally and internationally to protect their habitats,” he said.

Birdlife WA and the Denmark Bird Group will be hosting a Shorebird ID Workshop on February 19 where people can learn how to identify them and contribute to annual shorebird surveys.

The next day, a South Coast Shorebird ID Field Trip will take place along the Wilson Inlet.

The exhibition is part of this year’s Festival of Birds and Biodiversity taking place until April.

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