An impoverished landscape – Part 2

by John Sinclair A land rapidly losing its wildlife — Birds As a concerned grandparent, I am conscious of the world we are bequeathing to future generations and try to compare my own childhood and youth with that of my grandchildren.  In this essay I discuss how they will miss the sound and sight of many of birds once so familiar.   The decline of birds I am describing is anecdotal but they epitomise observations made by long term bird observers throughout Australia that bird populations are plunging in almost every habitat.  Some such as the beautiful Gouldian finches have gained their endangered status due to the trapping and trafficking.  Others such as bustards, emus, some ducks and pigeons have been heavily hunted for the pot.  Some like the Gull-billed terns and the Black swans are obviously responding to habitat disturbance.  Some like the seed eating birds are vanishing before our eyes because grazing pressure lets little grass grow to seed.  Some insectivorous bird populations are being impacted by pesticides. Some ground dwelling birds are falling prey to feral predators. Some species are declining through eating cane toads. Many species are suffering habitat loss through land clearing.  However there is no explanation for why bird populations in our National Parks are also declining.  Some birds are obviously being significantly impacted by climate change. Many reasons for the rapid decline can’t be explained.   What is more worrying is that this...

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