re. Ibis numbers

To: "Bette Mitchell" <>, <>
Subject: re. Ibis numbers
From: "Richard Dilena" <>
Date: Wed, 7 Mar 2001 22:39:38 +1100
It has long been considered that the large increase in Silver Gull numbers
is due in part to the number and size of open landfill sites around Port
Phillip Bay.  However Silver Gulls (referred to as Tip Rats by those in the
know) are not the only bird feeding off our excess.  Straw-necked and White
Ibis, Pelicans, and Little Ravens are all common at these sites around
Geelong.  The numbers of Ibis at Drysdale and Corio landfill during the day
are in the hundreds, with a steady procession of those who have had their
fill leaving, only to replaced by those eager for a easy feed.

Whilst visiting Mud Islands on a number of occasions during summer a couple
of years ago, I was able to witness the mass destruction of Saltbush and
other vegetation by nesting Ibis.  There were simply thousands of them.  A
visit late summer/early Autumn revealed a fairly flattened landscape, but
each year the saltbush seems to recover.  I can remember the ranger
commenting at the time that most of these birds (Ibis and Gulls) were
relying on landfill operations to survive.

Even though EPA operating guidelines for landfill sites include measures
such as covering refuse with a capping layer of fill (clay, dirt, etc.) to
minimise odour and scavenging (by birds, not humans), the huge volumes of
waste we generate each day make easy pickings.  Ibis and Gulls virtually
fall on to the waste as its dumped by the compactor's.

I am aware of a number of landfill sites in Melbourne that have employed
staff simply to scare off birds, although I don't know how successful it is!

Richard Dilena
Ocean Grove

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