Introducing… Madelynne O’Neill

Avisure graduate wildlife biologist

No two days are alike for Madelynne O’Neill, who joined Avisure about seven months ago as a graduate wildlife biologist. O’Neill is helping with a lot of the northern and central Queensland projects, from the Gold Coast up to Cairns and Rockhampton.  ‘There’s no typical day,’ O’Neill says. ‘I’m very blessed and very grateful for the variety of things I get to do.’  

‘My job is a great mix of field work and reporting. I do egg and nest inspections: removing nests in the early stages of production to deter the birds—fairy martins are the main target species. I also participate in surveys once a month on the local airports, as well as off-airport sites in the vicinity. I love doing surveys and learning from more experienced biologists, such as Marty (Ziviani), Alex (Alexandra Stone) and Tyler (Rogers). I’ve seen some cool new species: yesterday it was the Nankeen Night heron, and recently pink-eared ducks, but I’m also learning to differentiate different species of raptors, which I’d seen in the past, but couldn’t identify.’ On the other hand, she says she also likes ‘nestling in with some good data analysis’, using the survey data to identify trends and help develop insightful wildlife hazard management reports for clients.a

Her background is in environmental science. She finished her undergraduate degree at Griffith University last year and is still ‘umming and ahhing about more study. I want to focus on becoming better at my job, for now’, she says. O’Neill has especially enjoyed ‘getting a handle on the aviation side of things. When I started, I was completely green to the aviation world – never did I think I would be working in aviation and enjoying it so much. I didn’t know that a job like this existed, and it’s a really interesting area to be working in.’ Recently she had the chance to fly in a light aircraft, a Cessna, to take part in an ibis roosting survey. ‘It was great, and the super windy day on the Gold Coast made it all the more exhilarating.’

Something not many know about her is that in her own words, she is ‘pretty reptile crazy. I spend a lot of my spare time bushwalking and looking for lizards and snakes.’ Her favourite reptile is the saltwater crocodile. ‘Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but I appreciate the fact that they are evolutionary powerhouses and have remained virtually unchanged for so long. They are such prime and perfect apex predators.’ Continuing the theme, her next favourite is ‘another deadly animal – the death adder. I especially love all the predator animals we have in Australia.’ 

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