to add another but I've heard a reliable report of some at Lake Cowal near
West Wyalong about 5 years ago. That's a bit closer.
I don't want to labour over this
issue, but I just want to be clear. The question was whether the magpie geese at
Tidbinbilla were wild birds.
I think this is very unlikely.
Ockham's Razor says that 'The simplest explanation is the best.' The Tidbinbilla
birds before the fires were captive birds. I knew a Ranger who worked there and
the birds being 'free' is a technicality used to
appease tourists. In the past I am pretty certain some bird's wings were pinioned and some clipped. I
remember there being 21-22 before the fires, others have advised me there were a
lot more and that the original birds had bred.
fires I observed 21 or 22 magpie
geese at the wetland. On looking at the
birds I estimate about 8 had wings that were pinioned. I did vaguely remember a
review of the impacts of fire on Tidbinbilla. It turned out to be Ian Frasers
review of the fires impact 24/1/2003. I probably misinterpreted Ians comment
that 'A surprising number of water birds are still on the lagoons' to mean 'quite a lot survived', when Ian possibly meant
surprising relative to other animals or relative to the intensity of the fire??
Anyway it suggests some water birds did survive. On my walk around the wetlands
most trees were burnt but
it appeared less devastated than most of the rest of Tid. The hides were burnt but some wetland infrastructure appeared fine.
comments on wild magpie geese are very interesting. Although their range has
contracted over the past 2 centuries, I had also noticed an increase around
Brisbane area in
the past 5 years or so and this is backed up by friends who live there. The map
from 'The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000'
does not show them being
closer to Canberra than Brisbane and not in the MDB, but that is a bit old
now. Nevertheless, even taking into account Johns and Geoffreys emails the birds
are still at a minimum about 500km from Canberra. Sure, they can fly, but
Tidbinbilla is not ideal Magpie Goose habitat. Perhaps as a stop off during
drought, but they are still present at Tid now. On Philip Veermans comment that
they are 'rarely' in Canberra , well I don't enjoy semantic
arguments, but to me 'rarely' means 'not often' or 'seldom' and these are also
stated on Web definition pages. I would not consider 1 record in 20 years as
being 'not often'.
So in conclusion I suggest that
by far the most likely answer is that some of the captive birds that were
already at Tidbinbilla have survived and the birds are captive rather than wild.
[And that means you cant tick them off, heh heh].
Thanks Ian & John etc. Yes the species has been
rarely recorded wild locally e.g. at Roses / Rowes lagoon on 31-3-1986. Also
when I lived in Brisbane 1979 to 1983 the species was not there but now is
in abundance (in some parts). Apologies for my wording error in the last message
"I wonder whether any other the former captive Magpie Geese there, survived the
fire" was meant to be "I wonder whether any of the former captive Magpie
Geese there, survived the fire". I would have doubted that any had but did
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