White-faced heron - Cooks River

White-faced heron – Cooks River

The Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW has released the findings of their annual aerial survey Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey. This is one of the largest wildlife surveys in Australia. The health of the rivers & wetlands of eastern Australia have been surveyed since 1983 with The Centre for Ecosystem Science talking over the helm in 2005.

Unfortunately, there are very concerning statistics for 2015 with waterbird populations along eastern Australia showing the lowest breeding level on record. Breeding numbers have fallen more than 60%.

“Most alarmingly, the total breeding index of all 50 species combined was the lowest on record and well below the long-term average.” See – http://ab.co/1YLQw74

The reasons for the dramatic drop in breeding is thought to be a result of drought, with many of the wetlands only partially filled or completely dry. The effects of the drought has been worsened by the over-allocation & diverting of river water for agriculture, the building of dams & the impacts climate change.

The lack of breeding will only increase the loss of overall numbers of waterbirds & this is a terrible thing for Australia. Birds, like frogs are an indicator of ecosystem health. Like dominoes falling, humans will be impacted eventually.

Striated heron - Cooks River. Such shy little birds that sneak out of the mangroves when they think no-one ois looking. Expert catchers of fish too.

Striated heron – Cooks River. Such shy little birds that sneak out of the mangroves when they think no-one is looking. Expert catchers of fish too.

Little Black cormorants - fantastiic to watch them fish along the Cooks River.

Little Black cormorants – fantastiic to watch them fish along the Cooks River.

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