Beaut year for bird nesting in Barmah

Thursday 11 March, 2021
Barmah National Park has experienced its biggest water bird nesting event in four years.

Goulburn Broken CMA’s Keith Ward said a colony of more than 450 ibis and spoonbills had recently finished nesting in a wetland in the Ramsar-listed* site. The international listing recognises the forest’s wetlands as significant for water bird breeding, feeding and refuge.

“Timely deliveries of water for the environment, along with periods of larger natural flooding, resulted in a range of excellent environmental outcomes this year,” Mr Ward said. 

“One of these was the development of the nesting colony of straw-necked ibis, Australian white ibis and royal spoonbills, a species listed as vulnerable in Victoria. 

“This is the first successful nesting event for these species in Barmah National Park for the past four years and will help maintain the site’s Ramsar listing.”

Mr Ward said many other species of waterbirds would have bred, but because of their more cryptic (hiding) nature, were difficult to observe. 

“Sound recorders picked up frequent calling activity by these shy species during the nesting season.  Most significant (of these species) was the relatively large population of Australasian bittern that are listed as endangered in Victoria,” he said.

With a successful nesting season finished, and thousands of young waterbirds now feeding or migrating to warmer regions, water for the environment will not need to be delivered to the wetlands again until winter. 

The timing, planning and management of the water deliveries involved various government agencies, the Commonwealth and Victorian environmental water holders and Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation.

Monitoring was undertaken through The Living Murray Initiative, which is a is a joint initiative funded by the New South Wales, Victorian, South Australian, Australian Capital Territory and Australian governments and is co-ordinated by the Murray–Darling Basin Authority.

All water ordered and used in the forest is debited from specific environmental water accounts and does not affect other water users. 

*Ramsar sites are wetlands of international importance listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. For more information on the convention visit the Ramsar Convention website.