I was thrilled to see this Galah guarding her chicks tucked away in this secret location somewhere in Marrickville LGA.

The Australian government says, “In no more than eight generations since European settlement, Australia has lost 19 out of a total 282 species of mammals & 20 out of 770 species of birds.  Seventy-six plant species have also become extinct.  Australian Biologist Professor Harry Recher has warned that many Australian bird species will probably be extinct within 50-years if rapid habitat loss continues.”  http://bit.ly/Vxg9Ld

The Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population & Communities says, “Australia is home to more than one million species, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. About 85% of the continent’s flowering plants, 84% of mammals, more than 45% of birds and 89% of inshore, temperate-zone fish are only found in Australia.  More than 310 species of native animals & over 1,180 species of native plants are at risk of disappearing forever.” http://bit.ly/QIJL6B

The group of Ecologists who were meeting in Florence in 1931 & who decided to establish World Animal Day to highlight endangered species would have been appalled at the rapid rate of extinction in Australia over the past 200-years.

Extinction of flora & fauna is caused by –

  • loss, change & fragmentation of habitat,
  • the effects of invasive plants, animals & diseases &
  • the direct effects of human activities – all of which are happening in Marrickville LGA.

It’s extremely hard in urban environments to retain habitat for wildlife because humans continually want to expand their space & change the use of the land.  Population is also growing & means the eventual need for more housing & more roads.

The pressure is on for Local Councils to create habitat for urban wildlife within this changing landscape.  Our own Marrickville Council has a large document, the Draft Biodiversity Action Plan, to increase biodiversity across Marrickville LGA.  If you look at a map they call the Urban Habitat Mosaic you can easily see how little there is & poorly connected it is.  It looks like a jigsaw puzzle with 85% of the pieces missing.

Although our municipality is not paradise for urban wildlife, we do have The Greenway & the Cooks River & Councils & community groups have great plans to improve on the biodiversity of both these areas.

We too can add to the Urban Habitat Mosaic by planting food-producing tree/s or shrub/s somewhere in our property.  Small food-producing natives can also be planted on the verges.  It’s surprising what the introduction of native plants does to bring the presence of wildlife into your garden & area.

In my immediate neighbourhood, the planting of natives in both front & back gardens in a number of adjoining properties & on the verge has brought in a huge variety of new birds.   Where it was once Indian Mynas & Currawongs, there are now many species of small & medium-sized birds who live here. The Indian mynas are still around, but are outnumbered by other birds, so leave them alone.  I have witnessed this on many occasions.  Interestingly the Currawongs have left.

This has shown me that native birds will return if there is sufficient food & safe habitat for them.  It has also shown me that you can manage so-called feral birds by changing the environment & making it useful, safe & inviting for native birds.  It’s lovely to end the day with the sound of bird song drowning out the traffic.  It feels normal – as it should be.

Local Red Wattle bird.