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Displaying items by tag: birds
Tuesday, 25 April 2017 22:53

Bubbles not Balloons

Every day there’s an outdoor event to celebrate or commemorate something or other, and balloons will be released. It looks spectacular for a moment or two, but they’re soon forgotten. What happens to them? Most end up in our seas, where they are eaten by marine wildlife, including seabirds. It sounds frivolous, but it’s become a major conservation problem.

BirdLife Australia has thrown its support behind a campaign by Zoos Victoria and the Phillip Island Nature Parks to shine a spotlight on this issue.

Most people aren’t even aware that the simple act of releasing balloons into the air poses a major danger to wildlife. However, the facts are startling. A CSIRO study found that balloons are in the top three most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife – along with plastic bags and bottles.

Albatrosses, cormorants, penguins and pelicans are all affected by this, but of all Australia’s seabirds, shearwaters, or muttonbirds, are the most badly affected when it comes to ingesting plastic debris.

For example, the decline of Flesh-footed Shearwaters on Lord Howe Island has been directly linked to the ingestion of debris, with balloons and their plastic attachments, one of the most prevalent and readily identifiable items found inside them. Further, two separate studies have found that 100% of Short-tailed Shearwaters contain plastic in their digestive systems.

The balloons fill the birds’ digestive tracts while offering no nutrition, and slowly poison them as toxic chemicals leach into the birds’ tissues.

Birdlife Australia is joining Zoos Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks to encourage Australians to make their outdoor events wildlife-friendly. The best way to do this is by choosing to use bubbles instead of balloons to reduce this source of harmful waste.

Help spread the word to use bubbles instead of balloons at outdoor events. It’s a simple act but it can make such a big difference.

This information comes from Birdlife Australia.

Published in STEP Matters 190
Saturday, 19 December 2015 04:47

Ever-changing Birds of Northern Sydney

Ross Rapmund gave a fascinating talk on the changing birds in northern Sydney. He started with a slide which compared the ten most common birds before 1900 with recent data. A hundred years ago the most common species were small birds with an average weight of 18 g (e.g. Superb Fairy Wren, New Holland Honeyeater, Golden Whistler and Willie Wagtail). Now the most common birds are much bigger with an average weight of 180 g (e.g. Common Myna, Noisy Miner, Magpie, Currawong and Rainbow Lorikeet).

Published in STEP Matters 183
Sunday, 01 February 2015 07:01

A Threatening Species: The Noisy Miner

Residents of Sydney's suburbs cannot help but notice the abundance of the native honeyeater, the noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) in their gardens and their aggressive defence of their territory against other birds of all sizes and almost anything else (eg bats, cats, koalas and cows). One wonders if they can cause damage to the ecological balance of areas where they dominate.

Published in STEP Matters 179
Wednesday, 01 April 2015 07:01

The Noisy Miner: A Friend not a Pest?

STEP member Ralph Pridmore describes his personal experiences with his local feathered friends.

Published in STEP Matters 180
Tuesday, 01 September 2015 06:27

What Plastic is doing to Marine Life

The impact on marine life from plastic may be most obvious in coastal regions, but in August CSIRO released the results of the first analysis of the threat posed by plastic pollution to pelagic bird species worldwide. The report is published by the National Academy of Sciences of the US.

Published in STEP Matters 182

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