Queen's Birthday 2019 Honours List: Laurieton's Alan Morris awarded a Member of the Order (AM)

Laurieton resident Alan Morris has been awarded with a Member of the Order (AM).
Laurieton resident Alan Morris has been awarded with a Member of the Order (AM).

Alan Morris has achieved a Queen's Birthday Honours List accolade for over 50 years of significant service to wildlife conservation.

His dedication to research and conservation of native bird life has earnt him a Member of the Order (AM).

Mr Morris was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours List alongside four others across the Hastings - Gerry de Vries (OAM), Bruce Cant (OAM), Robyn Coombes (OAM) and Edna Lamb (OAM).

The Laurieton resident has been an avid birdwatcher since he was 10-years-old and said he has always been fascinated by fluctuations of populations.

Mr Morris grew up in Summer Hill, Sydney but cherished holidays spent at his grandparents' property in Saratoga, on the Central Coast. It was there that Mr Morris' passion for all birds grew, as he was free to roam and explore.

After graduating with an agricultural degree, Mr Morris first joined the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 1964 as a wildlife protection officer.

He continued to work at the organisation until 2000 and held various roles including as Coonabarabran district manager (1975-1983), Sydney Harbour Park chief ranger (1983-1988) and Central Coast area manager (1988-2000).

Mr Morris (pictured right) with a Woodhen (Tricholimnas sylvestris) on Lord Howe Island. The Woodhen is a flightless bird which was once one of the rarest birds in the world. Photo: supplied.

Mr Morris (pictured right) with a Woodhen (Tricholimnas sylvestris) on Lord Howe Island. The Woodhen is a flightless bird which was once one of the rarest birds in the world. Photo: supplied.

Over the years Mr Morris has also been a member of various bird conservation groups including BirdLife Australia, Birding NSW, Central Coast Group Birding NSW, NSW Twitchathon, Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme, Regent Honeyeater Recovery Committee and Gosford Friends of the Bush Stone-Curlew.

Mr Morris' work has been instrumental in informing organisations about bird populations since the 1960s.

Mr Morris studied a colour-banded population of Bush Stone-Curlew and prepared a joint 2019 report for Gosford City Council on its status. The study covered a period of 20 years.

Through travel, Mr Morris has examined many species of birds and completed over 22,000 systemic bird surveys. He is now a life member of Birdlife Australia after initially joining in 1964.

Mr Morris (pictured middle) with a Woodhen (Tricholimnas sylvestris) on Lord Howe Island. The Woodhen is a flightless bird which was once one of the rarest birds in the world. Photo: supplied.

Mr Morris (pictured middle) with a Woodhen (Tricholimnas sylvestris) on Lord Howe Island. The Woodhen is a flightless bird which was once one of the rarest birds in the world. Photo: supplied.

Mr Morris said he carries a pair of binoculars everywhere he goes and has been to some incredible places to conduct surveys, including several islands and the Australian desert.

Mr Morris enjoys discovering the reasons behind the rise and decline of certain species.

"The poor Regent Honeyeater species is in decline and I believe this is partly due to climate change and loss of habitat," Mr Morris said.

Mr Morris said when he first started in his role for the National Parks and Wildlife there were less than 10 pairs on the north coast and now there are hundreds.

"Perhaps the early settlers killed them off and they are only just starting to recover," he said.

Mr Morris said technology has meant the recording of bird surveys has become easier and more streamlined.

Previously people had to rely solely on word of mouth and group newsletters.

Mr Morris moved to Laurieton in February this year from the Central Coast.

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This story Member of the Order accolade for avid birdwatcher first appeared on Port Macquarie News.

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