IT is just two more sleeps until Christmas.
Down under, that is here in Australia, it is summer. Right along the east coast the weather is usually warm, often sunny, and it’s a time when extended families enjoy picnics and barbeques together outside.
A native Australian bird, the Australian White Ibis, Threskiornis spinicollis, has learnt to take advantage of this feasting and can often be found perched on the edge of these gatherings waiting for the opportunity to swoop through – once collecting a large piece of quiche from my plastic plate.
Interestingly the Australian White Ibis were once considered something of a novelty in Australia’s cities. Indeed less than 10 years ago breeding colonies were encouraged including at Lake Gillawarna – an artificial wetland in Bankstown in western Sydney. This lake is now home to the largest nesting colony in eastern NSW and possibly the entire state.
The colony was established in 2001 with five nests, by 2002 there were 120 nests and by 2003 the colony boasted 860 nests.
But, by 2004, the residents of Bankstown were fed-up – and the local city council developed a management plan to try and reduce numbers. The management plan went as far as the pruning of horizontal branches of Coral trees and Casuarina to limit the birds nesting opportunities.
I can only conclude that we really are a fickle lot – loving the Australian White Ibis only as long as it is somewhat contained.
If there is any message in this little story, just two sleeps before Christmas, it is perhaps be careful what you wish for!
The picture of an Australian White Ibis in Redfern, inner city Sydney, was taken by Jennifer Marohasy in November 2008.