AFTER battling foxes and cats, the beautiful calls of the bush stone curlews should soon be heard again in Shelbourne.
The iconic species has nearly died out in the area, but one group has a bold plan to bring the birds back.
Thirty minutes to the south east of Bendigo, Shelbourne is home to 10 woodland sites restored and ready for the release nine of the endangered bird.
The Mid Loddon Landcare Network has bred the bird for about three years in preparation for release.
It's a project that's taken a whole community's support.
Network facilitator Judy Crocker said the group's vision was to have a self-sustaining flock of breeding curlews in the Shelbourne area.
Ms Crocker said the community missed having the bush stone curlews in the area.
"If you hear a flock of them calling at night, you'd understand why. They are just beautiful," she said.
"They're what we call an iconic species. They have an amazing call at night, and at the moment everyone knows exactly where the pair are that we've got, because they hear them at night."
Landcare has set aside five site for habitat, with six foot fences around them. Some have been protected for more than 10 years.
The woodland will make a good home for the curlews, as well as other endangered species such as phascogales.
The birds' release site will have an electric fence surrounding
it. The birds will sit in an aviary on the site for six weeks before Landcare releases them, to make sure they're acclimatised.
Landcare has also taught the birds to hunt wild food, so they can learn to track it themselves.
The Shelbourne community has banded together to support the project, taking turns to feed the birds in their aviary.
Ms Crocker said she had become quite attached to the birds.
"Everyone misses the fact that we haven't got them, and they're all very supportive and helping at the moment," Ms Crocker said.
But Ms Crocker has also had to prepare herself for the worst. NSW projects have warned that Landcare could lose as many as 50 per cent of its first release.
But Ms Crocker is hoping to prove them wrong.
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