Waterbird numbers lowest in 20 years

Subject: Waterbird numbers lowest in 20 years
From: Ian May <>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 10:54:50 +0930
g'Day all

Be alert but not too alarmed about the reported low numbers of waterbirds in east coast drought areas. The current situation is almost certainly no more than a cyclic and temporary event.

Before we forecast imminent global crisis and extinction, we need to benchmark what is normal. The described survey period of only 20 years commenced in the early 1980's, following a period of unusually wet years when waterbird populations were at an abnormal high. Again in the late 80's there was a big wet across the inland.

Since the intense cyclones of last summer, areas of NW Australia are wetter than usual and many waterbirds will be concentrated there.

As most of us know, most waterbirds have a high reproductive potential and in good seasons, so long as habitat is protected, their populations will restore not withstanding other limiting factors.


Ian May
Price South Australia

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