Broome Bird Observatory – A Birder’s Paradise
Roebuck Bay Bird Observatory is one of the world’s premier showcases of winged creatures, offering visitors a magnificent display of both native and migratory species alike.
Roebuck Bay’s intertidal mudflats, listed by RAMSAR as an internationally significant site, draw large flocks of migrating wading birds each year from their breeding grounds all the way to Broome and back again – covering more than 5,00 km each way! These incredible animals travel more than 5,000 kilometres annually on this incredible journey.
The Broome Bird Observatory, situated on Roebuck Bay in northern Western Australia’s Kimberley region, is one of the world’s premier locations to observe migratory shorebirds – it has long been recognised as an exceptional opportunity for viewing these amazing creatures. The observatory serves as a prime spot to spot these wonderful avians!
Roebuck Bay’s tidal mudflats provide food and shelter to shorebirds (also called waders), with flocks travelling as far as Siberia to feed on these rich ecosystems, harvesting crabs and other shellfish from mangrove trees lining its edges for their meals. Roebuck Bay mudflats have earned themselves recognition as among the world’s most biodiverse areas.
Visitors to the mudflats can either explore them on their own, or join one of several tours ranging from one hour to five days that offer deeper insights into this region with special attention given to certain bird species.
Day trips at the observatory feature walking trails and botanical walks for guests to enjoy, along with access to a library/video room and low-key accommodation options such as units/cottages/bush campground with kitchen. There is no entrance fee; donations to help cover maintenance and operating costs are requested instead.
As previously mentioned, the Observatory enjoys an ongoing partnership with Yawuru Nagulagun/ Roebuck Bay’s Aboriginal people – who are traditional owners of the land upon which the Observatory stands – who are committed to maintaining and safeguarding this remarkable ecosystem. The Observatory remains fully committed to safeguarding it for future generations.
Visit for just the day or stay longer – either way the observatory offers on-site camping and tours that showcase its vibrant birdlife. Or join the Australasian Wader Studies Group during summer for bird banding research! Additionally, workshops aimed at children as well as adults are also provided at this historic landmark.
Roebuck Bay’s tidal mudflats provide one of the world’s richest sources of food for migrating shorebirds known as waders, drawing huge flocks every year. Bird Observatory guided tours can bring these magnificent creatures up close while exploring their natural habitats: admire mangroves with 10m tides; spot thousands roosting shorebirds across red sandy beaches; experience life that thrives only with freshwater; witness life only flourishing at temporary wetlands and watch as Western Australian sun sets over vast empty plains!
The Bird Observatory is a not-for-profit organisation, supported solely by donations and tour fees for its maintenance and operation. Their exciting Clive Minton Discovery Centre provides an exciting new feature on site; featuring information displays, touch screens, kids activities, souvenirs galore!
Broome Bird Observatory offers an exceptional birding adventure for beginners and experienced birders alike. Offering guided tours showcasing different aspects of Roebuck Bay 25 km east of Broome, its location can only be accessed with two-wheel drive vehicles during dry months – but during wet season four-wheel drives may be more appropriate!
Book your tour on the Observatory’s website or call ahead to reserve a seat; costs for tours vary based on number of people and duration; children aged 8-12 qualify for discounted admission rates.
Broome Bird Observatory is open all year, but peak migration occurs between March and April when Eastern Curlews take flight early on, while Red Knots wait until mid-May before beginning their trek back to Siberia – all before September/October when waders begin returning dribs and drabs.
Clive Minton Discovery Centre
The BBO stands out among bird observatories by going further than most when it comes to engaging with local communities. Not only do they arrange tours and camping on-site, they also run classes for both children and adults ranging from kindergarten and primary school children all the way through to TAFE students (tertiary education).
BBO classes were created specifically to educate the next generation about the significance of migrating shorebirds and why we need to protect them. Through such activities, BBO hopes to make an impactful statement about this unique ecosystem while simultaneously making sure species continue thriving for future generations.
Migratory shorebirds breed in Asia and Siberia for only a short season before returning to Roebuck Bay to rest before continuing north. If you visit during this period, it is possible to spot thousands of these birds sporting colorful breeding plumage!
However, as this habitat is so sensitive and important, the BBO encourages visitors to observe these incredible birds responsibly. There are signs posted to ensure no disturbance of the birds while rangers are also available to answer questions and provide more information.
The Clive Minton Discovery Centre features audio-visual displays and touch screens with information about Yawuru Nagulagun/ Roebuck Bay Marine Park’s birdlife. This air conditioned centre provides an ideal way to learn about its flora and fauna; additionally there are interactive games and kids activities to keep everyone occupied!
BBO also houses a museum that chronicles the story of pearling industry events during World War II and features exhibits, videos and photographs as well as cast dinosaur footprints discovered at Roebuck Bay beach – making this experience unforgettable for any visitor to Broome! The BBO Museum can also be visited directly. It resides within three heritage buildings featuring exhibits that depict this time in history as well as special displays like its cast dinosaur footprint display which makes for an interesting stopover when visiting Broome.
Migration requires birds to access certain locations on their journeys annually, making habitat loss a serious threat. At BBO we strive to educate and raise awareness by hosting tours, hosting camping trips and organizing educational programs both for children and adults alike.
Roebuck Bay, a RAMSAR-listed Wetland of International Importance, attracts thousands of birds each year – from waterbirds such as eastern curlews and red knots, to shorebirds such as eastern curlews and red knots. Furthermore, BBO also manages an assortment of terrestrial habitats like sea-grass beds, mangrove swamps and samphire and saline grasslands which all provide homes for numerous bird species.
At Eighty Mile Beach, bird numbers peak at around 120,000 during the dry season. Sand dunes and sandy beaches come alive with breeding pairs of red-capped plovers, pied oystercatchers and greater sand plovers, creating an extraordinary wildlife spectacle.
You might just witness an extraordinary sight: thousands of eastern curlews taking off into V-shaped formation. This remarkable event typically happens near the end of wet season, although different species takeoff at different times; for instance, Red Knots, whose Arctic home remains covered by snow cover will likely wait until late May to start their migration journey southward.
Broome Bird Observatory remains an enjoyable destination no matter the season. The bush comes alive with the sound of birds flying overhead; and early spring visitors might witness many species begin their moult process- transforming from grey-toned feathers into vibrant pindan red feathers!
At BBO, guests have access to various accommodation options such as fully self contained chalets and air conditioned rooms as well as bush camp sites. All guests are invited to participate in Bird Obbies – our weekly birdwatching program which gives participants a great opportunity to discover Roebuck Bay’s fascinating ecology first hand! Guests are also encouraged to share their discoveries with other visitors during their time at Roebuck Bay Observatory and enhance their Kimberley experience!