How long will this project run? Do I need to hurry up and collect?
Final feather submissions must be in by Friday 29 June 2018. Results from the project will start to become available after this time.

Is this project limited to sites formally identified as wetlands?
No, the site does not need to be formally identified as a wetland, areas that waterbirds use, such as swamps, marshes, billabongs, lakes, lagoons, saltmarshes, mudflats, mangroves, dams (including farm dams), creeks and rivers are all good sites.

To help us identify the exact location though, if possible, it would be great if you can get the sites coordinates using your iPhone or Android device or Google Maps.

Is the Project open to everyone?
Yes, we have scientific licences/permits for all Australian states and territories. These allow people to collect feathers for this study. 

Can't you be prosecuted for collecting bird feathers in some states? Is it definitely Ok to do this?
Yes, we have scientific licences/permits for all Australian states and territories. These allow people to collect feathers for this study. 

Do I need a letter to confirm I can collect the feathers?
Queensland requires you to have a copy of the permit and a movement advice to collect and send us feathers. All other states and territories do not require you to have a copy of the permit or a movement advice. However please feel free to share the permit/licence number relevant for your state or territory. You can view these details here.

Is it hygienic to handle bird feathers?
The risk of contracting a zoonotic disease (a disease that can pass from animals to humans) from handling bird feathers is very low provided you follow general hygiene practices such as washing your hands after handling feathers. If you are at all concerned wear a pair of disposable gloves.

Can I collect feathers from dead birds?
No. Due to hygiene considerations, please do not collect feathers from dead birds. Only collect feathers found on the ground and in the water just ensure you wash your hands thoroughly after touching them or wear gloves, if you are concerned.

Are there any ethical issues from collecting bird feathers?
The Project is covered by the UNSW Animal Care and Ethics approval 15/76B for all states excluding South Australia and we have scientific licences/permits for all states and territories including South Australia.

Oh, and don’t forget, please do not collect feathers still attached to our feathered friends!

What nuclear studies can be done on feathers?
You can learn more about the research techniques on this page of the website.  

Do you have information about incorporation of these elements into feathers according to environmental availability, bird health and absorption, species and feather growth cycles and you will apply it in the field? Or are you just getting this information from this study?
Essentially no, we don’t know about the incorporation of elements in relation to environmental availability – this is work that needs to be done, but is not currently part of this particular project. We can get an idea of bird health and conditions of the wetland where the feather was grown using ptilochronology (essentially the growth bars on feathers). This study is the first of its kind in Australia so we are learning a lot of new things as we go along.

Who do I contact if I have a media enquiry?
Please call ANSTO's Media Manager Phil McCall on 0438 619 987 or email  

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