Bye-bye birdies: 45 species feeling the heat

Subject: Bye-bye birdies: 45 species feeling the heat
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Sun, 30 Sep 2007 08:24:19 +1000

There's only one bird officially listed as becoming extinct on the
mainland since European settlement and that's the paradise parrot,
dead by the 1920s.

The night parrot will be the second once the "remaining undiscovered
populations wink out", says Professor Stephen Garnett of Charles Darwin
University and chairman of Bird Australia's threatened species committee.

"We've been very lucky so far compared with other countries," says the
professor, speaking of Australia's low extinction rate of birds, which
includes eight species lost from our territorial islands. But the luck's
running out fast.

In a paper he co-wrote, to be published next month, The history of
threatened birds in Australia and its offshore islands , Professor
Garnett makes a long list of disturbing predictions as to the viability
of our bird life because of feral species running amok, human sprawl
and climate change.

The paper predicts 45 Australian bird species will be threatened to some
degree by increases in temperature by 2050. Already the wedge-tailed
shearwater is struggling to feed itself because waters of the Barrier Reef
are getting too warm to sustain its diet of fish, squid and crustaceans.


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