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It Don’t Matter if You’re Black or White….

Monday, 2 April 2012

But if you’re black and white, and smell then you have a problem. The Australian Ibis has to be one of the most striking birds patrolling the eastern suburbs, with its jet black head, white plumage, long legs and telescopic bill.

But it is only a fairly recent addition to the parish of Bondi’s flock and destruction of its natural wetland habitat due to over extraction of water and drought (hard to believe this year) has led it to seek fresh woods and pastures new. New they may be, but they’re more funky than fresh, they have migrated to urban areas, and specifically rubbish tips.

Although they still need to nest near fresh water, their primary food source seems to be our left overs and there are large populations in most of Sydney’s waste tips.

In Bondi, like a Westie on Australia Day you’ll likely see them with their heads in a fast food rapper or raiding bins (fully sick behaviour),

on occasion they have even been known to grab food from the hands of unsuspecting passers-by. Other ‘hoon’ behaviour on their rap sheet includes trying to down aircraft, not with laser pointers but by accidentally flying into their jet engines and for this reason a large nesting population was reduced in number from Centennial Park.

Indeed there is now an active drive to lower their numbers within Sydney which one can attribute not only to their antisocial behaviour but also their foul smelling excreta, as Mr Jinks would say ‘I hate those faeces to pieces’. They are big birds and they produce a lot;

and with a recorded life expectancy greater than most famous rock stars (28 years), they really can produce a lot.

This will naturally be localised around where they eat (or nest) and in Bondi as in Centennial Park that will be where litter is concentrated i.e. around the rubbish bins, the ones without lids, the ones all around Bondi. So next time you sit on the benches at the end of Hall Street check to see what you’re sitting in, that foul smell may not be from the adjacent bin or the cologne from a passing real estate agent but from your discarded lunch, recycled and re-served Ibis stylee.

On a serious note, if they are being driven out of their natural environment and in turn pushed out of their new urban digs, where will they go? Next time you sit on that bench, think to yourself ‘where would you defecate if someone took my toilet away?’ hopefully the answer is not ‘on a bench at the end of Hall Street’.   



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