Online game brings awareness to secretive bird


A new interactive survival game is bringing awareness to an elusive but endangered bird.

The elusive Bittern in the reeds.

The Hunter Wetlands Centre, with support from Hunter Local Land Services, has launched the new game in a bid to help the Australasian Bittern.

The bittern, sometimes called the Bunyip Bird because of its scary booming night-time call, builds its nest in dense reeds and rushes in freshwater wetlands.

A very secretive bird, it is extremely well camouflaged with brown speckled feathers that blend into the reeds.

It hunts for food at night and when alarmed it adopts an upright stance and sways in the breeze like reeds.

It is these clever tactics that make the bird hard to spot.

Once common in the Hunter Region, loss of habitat and the threat from feral animals has had a devastating impact on their numbers.

Bittern or Bust: how long will you survive as a Bittern? is available to play on the Hunter Wetlands website.

It is suitable for anyone over the age of eight.

“While this game is fun to play, it also raises awareness about the dangers facing many of our native species,” Hunter Local Land Services’ Projects Officer Jennifer Lewis said.

Meanwhile, for anyone wanting a more hands on experience, the Hunter Wetlands Centre has reopened its door to visitors.

The centre welcomed its first flock of visitors earlier this month after being shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

While restrictions are in place and some services are not available, the centre is open from 9am to 4pm seven days a week.

Go to the Hunter Wetlands Centre website for more information.