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Dr Birgita Hansen

Dr Birgita Hansen

Research Fellow

Call: 03 5327 9952


A commitment to improving the management of waterways, wetlands and estuaries for the conservation of birds is the motivation behind research being conducted by Dr Birgita Hansen. Birgita has a long-standing history of working with volunteers in shorebird conservation. She has many years’ experience in the field of ornithology, specialising in wetland and waterbird conservation and management. Her research has made an important contribution to policy and planning in fields of conservation genetics, riparian restoration and waterbird conservation. She is currently leading projects on digital innovation in environment, climate and natural resource management. She is also leading a collaborative project investigating the movement patterns and habitat use by Latham’s Snipe. This study is part of a larger research programme she is developing aimed at improving the management of wetlands in western Victoria by working in close collaboration with community groups, private land owners and Natural Resource Management bodies.

Professional affiliations

  • BirdLife Australia
  • International Wader Study Group
  • Australasian Wader Studies Group
  • Victorian Wader Study Group

Professional experience

Federation University Australia, Mt. Helen, Victoria (previously University of Ballarat)

  • CRN Research Fellow (2012–2014)

Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research (ARI), Department of Sustainability and Environment (now Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Victoria

  • Waterbird and Estuarine Scientist (2009–2011)

School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Victoria

  • Freshwater Ecology Research Associate, casual (2008–2010)
  • Molecular Ecology Research Assistant, casual (1999–2009)

Brett Lane and Associates, Brunswick, Victoria

  • Consulting zoologist, casual (2006–2009)

Consulting/other activities

I recently lead a collaborative project with BirdLife Australia, the University of Queensland, the Arthur Rylah Institute (DELWP) and the AWSG to revise the East Asian-Australasian Flyway population estimates for 37 migratory shorebird species listed under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. This project was funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy.

I am on the editorial board of both Emu Austral OrnithologyCorella and Stilt (the shorebird journal of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway). I was the editor-in-chief of Stilt between 2011 and 2016. I am actively engaged in shorebird monitoring and conservation as both a volunteer and a professional.

I also provide expert advice and targeted field survey for waterbird, shorebird and other avian monitoring and research programs.

Teaching areas

  • Wildlife Ecology, FedUni
  • Field Survey and Assessment, FedUni
  • Forest Assessment and Monitoring, Masters of Science, UniMelb
  • Journal papers

    Hansen, B.D., Dahlhaus, P.G., Milne, R.G., MacLeod, A.D., & Pitfield, C. (in press). The Natural Resource Management Planning Portal: Lessons for NRM planning and reporting. Society and Natural Resources.

    Piggott, M.P., Hansen, B., Soderquist, T., Eldridge, M.D.B. & Taylor, A.C. (2017). Population monitoring of small and declining brush-tailed rock wallaby (Petrogale penicillata) colonies at the extreme of their range using faecal DNA sampling. Australian Mammalogy, 40(1), 58-66. doi: 10.1071/AM16056

    Wilson, D., Hansen, B., Honan, J., & Chamberlain, R. (2017). 170 years of Latham's Snipe Gallinago hardwickii arrivals in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory show no change in arrival date. Australian Field Ornithology, 34, 76-79. doi: 10.20938/afo34076079

    Alpers, D.L., Walker, F.M., Taylor, A.C., Sunnucks, P., Bellman, S., Hansen, B.D., & Sherwin, W.B. (2016). Evidence of subdivisions on evolutionary timescales in a large, declining marsupial distributed across a phylogeographic barrier. PLoS ONE, 11(10), e0162789. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162789

    Clemens, R., Rogers, D.I., Hansen, B.D., Gosbell, K., Minton, C.D.T., Straw, P., Bamford, M., Woehler, E.J., Milton, D.A., Weston, M.A., Venables, B., Wellet, D., Hassell, C., Rutherford, B., Onton, K., Herrod, A., Studds, C.E., Choi, C.-Y., Dhanjal-Adams, K.L., Murray, N.J., Skilleter, G.A., & Fuller, R.A. (2016). Continental-scale decreases in shorebird populations in Australia. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 116(2), 119-135. doi: 10.1071/MU15056

    Greenslade, P., Florentine, S.K., Hansen, B.D., & Gell, P.A. (2016). Biases encountered in long-term monitoring studies of invertebrates and microflora: Australian examples of protocols, personnel, tools and site location. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 188(8), 491. doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5478-x

    Szabo, J.K., Choi, C.-Y., Clemens, R.S., & Hansen, B. (2016). Conservation without borders-solutions to declines of migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 116(2), 215-221. doi: 10.1071/MU15133

    Hale, R., Reich, P., Johnson, M., Hansen, B., Lake, P.S., Thomson, J.R., & MacNally, R. (2015). Bird responses to riparian management of degraded lowland streams in southeastern Australia. Restoration Ecology, 23(2), 104-112. doi: 10.1111/rec.12158

    Hansen, B.D., Menkhorst, P., Moloney, P., & Loyn, R.H. (2015). Long-term declines in multiple waterbird species in a tidal embayment, south-east Australia. Austral Ecology, 40(5), 515-527. doi: 10.1111/aec.12219

    Hansen, B.D., Reich, P., Cavagnaro, T., & Lake, P.S. (2015). Challenges in applying scientific evidence to width recommendations for riparian management in agricultural Australia. Ecological Management & Restoration, 16(1), 50-57. doi: 10.1111/emr.12149

    Hansen, B.D., Minton, C.D.T., Harrison, A.E., & Jessop, R. (2014). Conservation assessment of the Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus. International Wader Studies, 20, 161-172.

    Taylor, I.R., Newman, M., Park, P., Hansen, B., Minton, C.D.T., Harrison, A., & Jessop, R. (2014). Conservation assessment of the Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris. International Wader Studies, 20, 116-128.

    Hansen, B.D., Harley, D.K.P., Lindenmayer, D.B., & Taylor, A.C. (2009). Population genetic analysis reveals a long‐term decline of a threatened endemic Australian marsupial. Molecular Ecology, 18(16), 3346-3362. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2009.04269.x

    Hansen, B.D., Minton, C.D.T., Jessop, R., & Collins, P. (2009). Biometrics, sexing criteria, age-structure and moult of Sooty Oystercatchers in south-eastern and north-western Australia. Emu - Austral Ornithology, 109(1), 25-33. doi: 10.1071/MU07045

    Hansen, B.D., & Taylor, A.C. (2008). Isolated remnant or recent introduction? Estimating the provenance of Yellingbo Leadbeater's possums by genetic analysis and bottleneck simulation. Molecular Ecology, 17(18), 4039-4052. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2008.03900.x

  • Book sections

    Hansen BD, Clemens RS, Gallo-Cajiao E, Jackson MV, Kingsford RT, Maguire GS, Maurer G, Milton D, Rogers DI, Weller DR, Weston MA, Woehler EJ, Fuller, R.A. (2018) Shorebird monitoring in Australia: a successful long-term collaboration among citizen scientists, governments and researchers.  In 'Monitoring threatened species and ecological communities'.Pp. 149-164. In: Legge, S., Lindenmayer, D. B., Robinson, N. M., Scheele, B.C., Southwell, D.M. & Wintle, B.A. (Eds). Monitoring threatened species and ecological communities. CSIRO publishing, Melbourne.

    Sunnucks P and Hansen B (2013) Guest Box 5. Null alleles and Bonferroni 'abuse': Treasure your exceptions (and so get it right for Leadbeater's possum). In 'Conservation and the genetics of populations'. (2nd edn) (Eds FW Allendorf, G Luikart, SN Aitken) pp. 93. (Wiley-Blackwell: Hoboken, NJ, USA)

  • Conferences

    Hansen B, Gooderham J, Garland I, Murphy D, Feely P, Sharman M, Bonney P, Dahlhaus P. (2018) National WaterbugBlitz: Citizens assessing Australian waterways. Australian Citizen Science Association Conference, Adelaide, Australia. 7-9 February 2018.

    Hansen B, Wilson D, Honan J, Chamberlain R, Stewart D, Gould L (2017) Building an understanding of habitat use, movement and migration of Latham’s Snipe. Australasian Ornithology Conference, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia, 8-10 November 2017.

    Schultz N, Good M, Hansen B and Milne R (2016) Tree decline in the agricultural landscapes of South Australia. 11th Australasian Plant Conservation Conference. Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Melbourne, Australia, 14–18 November 2016.

    Hansen BD, Fuller RA, Watkins D, Rogers DI, Clemens RS, Newman M, Woehler EJ and Weller DR (2016) Revision of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Population Estimates for 37 listed Migratory Shorebird Species. Australasian Shorebird Conference 2016, 1–2 October, Auckland, New Zealand.

    Hansen B, Feely P, Abeywickrema S, Plucinski P, Gillett H, MacLeod A (2016)  EstuaryWatch and WaterWatch portals: a collaborative research partnership to develop online tools to enhance citizen science, data collection and provision, and information sharing. Australian Society for Limnology Conference, 26–30 September 2016, Ballarat.

    Hansen B, Pitfield C, MacLeod A, Novak C, Nilsson K, Dahlhaus P and Thompson H  (2016)  South West Climate Change Portal: using internet knowledge sharing and novel visualisations to engage community with climate science.  Climate Adaptation 2016,  5–7 July 2016, Adelaide.

    Milne R and Hansen B (2016) Engaging communities for prioritising natural resource management and biodiversity conservation actions (Conference Paper). CEUR Workshop Proceedings 1570, 36–40.

    Hansen B, Honan J and Stewart D (2015) What is the relative importance of urban wetlands for Latham’s Snipe in south-west Victoria? Australasian Ornithological Conference. Adelaide, 25–29 November 2015.

    Thompson H, Dahlhaus P, Milne R, Hansen B and MacLeod A (2015)  The NRM Planning Portal: matching regional and local priorities to identify partnership opportunities in catchment management.  Australian Citizen Science Conference 2015: Maximising the Capacity of Citizen Science for Science and Society. Canberra, 23–24 July 2015.

    Hansen B, Jones C and Pearson H (2015) Does riparian condition influence breeding success in woodland birds in highly modified landscapes? Goulburn Broken CMA Research Forum. Shepparton. 21 May 2015.

    Hansen B (2013) Does riparian condition influence breeding success in woodland birds in highly modified landscapes? Australasian Ornithological Conference 2013. Unitec Institute of Technology, Mt Albert, Auckland, New Zealand, 4–7 December 2013; and

    Hansen B (2013) Does riparian condition influence breeding success in woodland birds in highly modified landscapes? EcoTas13. Aotea Centre, Auckland. 34–39 November 2013.

    Hansen B, Reich P and Lake PS (2013) Riparian zone widths, restoration objectives and catchment land use: management guidelines.Biodiversity Across Borders. Federation University Australia, Mt Helen. June 2013.

  • Reports

    Box P, Hansen B, Bradsworth N and Kostanski L (2018) An evaluation of proponent environmental data under the EPBC Act. CSIRO Land and Water.

    Hansen BD, Fuller RA, Watkins D, Rogers DI, Clemens RS, Newman M, Woehler EJ and Weller DR (2016) Revision of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Population Estimates for 37 listed Migratory Shorebird Species. Unpublished report for the Department of the Environment. BirdLife Australia, Melbourne.

    Schultz N, Good M and Hansen B (2016) Final report on tree decline and death project. Submitted to the Coorong and Tatiara Local Action Plan. Federation University Australia. 82p.

    Dahlhaus PG, Thompson H, Murphy A and Hansen B (2016) Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch portals: a collaborative research partnership to develop online tools to enhance citizen science, data collection and provision and information sharing.  Discussion paper.  Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation.  Federation University Australia.  21p.

    Hansen B, Wevill T, Hettihewa S and Gell P (2014) Narmbool Biodiversity and Carbon Project. Unpublished report for Sovereign Hill Museums Association. Federation University Australia.

    Menkhorst P, Loyn RH, Liu C, Hansen B, McKay M and Dann P (2015) Trends in numbers of piscivorous birds in Western Port and West Corner Inlet, Victoria, 1987–2012. Unpublished client report to Melbourne Water. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Heidelberg, Victoria.

    Menkhorst P and Hansen B (2014) Investigating the utility of monitoring bird communities to inform the Victorian Index of Estuarine Condition. Unpublished client report to Victorian Office of Water. Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Heidelberg, Victoria.


  • The National WaterbugBlitz: citizens assessing Australian waterways
  • Assessment of the value of proponent data under the EPBC ACT (with CSIRO, ThinkPlace and Department of Energy and Environment)
  • A multi-scale investigation into habitat requirements and movement patterns of Latham’s Snipe in south-eastern Australia (
  • Natural Resource Management Planning Portal: Matching regional and local priorities to identify partnership opportunities in catchment management.
  • Tree decline in the Coorong and Tatiara, South Australia: Using citizen science to reveal patterns of tree decline in rural landscapes.
  • Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch portals: a collaborative research partnership to develop online tools to enhance citizen science, data collection and provision and information sharing
  • Australian National Data Service Collections Enhancement Project
  • Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action climate reporting tool
  • Investigating the influence of riparian zone condition and management on woodland bird breeding in highly modified landscapes

Associate supervisor

Primary supervisor

  • Andrew Crossley (Honours) - What is the home range and habitat preference of Latham's Snipe (Gallinago hardwickii) in south-west Victoria?

Completed supervisions

  • Josh Howard (Honours and 3rd Year student) - Influence of disturbance regimes on habitat suitability for ground dwelling fauna and birds in native grasslands
  • Margot Gallety (3rd Year student) - Insect communities of Grey Box Grassy Woodland in Longwood Plain
  • Daniel Sheehan (3rd Year student) - What is Latham’s Snipe Preferred Habitat?: A GIS and Database Analysis With Ground ‘Truthing’
  • Joel Ellis (3rd Year student) - Distribution and occurrence frequency of bird assemblages along a riparian–upslope gradient in open eucalypt forest
  • Jennifer Urias (3rd Year student) - The Importance of Three Freshwater Lakes to Waterbirds in the Ballarat Region
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