Drought-breaking rains not enough to boost wetland bird numbers

Waterbirds require wetlands to be flooded, not just river channels.

Wetland bird populations across eastern Australia have failed to respond to drought-breaking rains, as reservoirs and farm dams absorbed the bulk of of water flows.

The 38th aerial survey, conducted by the University of NSW with four state governments, has found most bird species struggled to find enough water to spark large breeding events.

“It’s well below the long-term average, with even fewer birds than last year,” said Richard Kingsford, head of the university's Centre for Ecosystem Science.

"All that rain that we had on the Great Dividing Range, some of it's runoff, but it’s been largely captured by the large dams and not got into the river systems," he said.

 

Number of waterbirds
Number of waterbirds

 

Read the full article here, and see the 2020 Eastern Australian Waterbird Aerial Survey report attached below.