Valley

Barmah bird deaths declared “natural”

Wednesday 10 May, 2006
Ecologists have found no evidence to support recent claims hundred of egrets died in Barmah Forest during the summer floods.

Ecologists have found no evidence to support recent claims hundred of egrets died in Barmah Forest during the summer floods.

The deaths of young Nankeen Night Herons at a nesting colony in Barmah Forest prompted community concern about the timing and duration of the flood that was initiated and managed by government agencies.

But recent laboratory testing on dead birds showed they had been killed by feasting birds of prey who had taken advantage of the breeding episode.

Close to 200 Nankeen Night Heron young were found dead beneath a breeding colony containing more than 1600 young while less than 10 young Egret were dead from a colony of around 800 young.

Wetland ecologist with the Goulburn Broken CMA, Keith Ward, said the loss of relatively few chicks from such a significant breeding event was a tremendous outcome from recent environmental water use within the Barmah Millewa Wetland system.

Release ends

For more information telephone Keith Ward at the GBCMA on 58201100 or Lisa McKenzie at Impress on 58 212 651.