Would you like to be part of a count of Ibis and other birds at Freshwater Lake?

As part of National Bird Week we have an opportunity to involve our residents in a citizen science project to count Australian White Ibis, as well as other bird species at Freshwater Lake and the wider City of Charles Sturt Council area.

From Monday 21 to Sunday 27 October 2019, thousands of people from across the country are heading out into their backyards, local parks, or favourite outdoor spaces to take part. All you need is 20 minutes, your chosen ‘backyard’ (such as Freshwater Lake), and some keen eyesight or binoculars. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an expert.

Simply record the birds you know and look up those you don’t on the Aussie Bird Count App or website. You’ll instantly see live statistics and information on how many people are taking part near you and the number of birds and species counted across your neighbourhood and the whole of Australia!

We have partnered with BirdLife Australia to take part in this count.

Who are BirdLife Australia?

They are the country’s largest organisation devoted to the future of our native birdlife. It is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with a single aim: to prevent bird extinctions. The organisation undertakes various activities including scientific research and conservation projects, community engagement, public education and awareness-raising of threats to Australia's birds. BirdLife Australia also plays a strong advocacy role and provides significant input into conservation decisions of programs at different levels of government.

By participating in the count you’ll be contributing to a vital pool of information from across the nation that will help us see how Australian birds are faring.

To find out more and submit your results go to http://www.aussiebirdcount.org.au/ or download the app.

What happens after the count?

BirdLife Australia will then collate and analyse the results for the whole of Australia and Council will be sent the results for the City of Charles Sturt in early 2020.

The bird count is part of our strategy that the community and Council developed earlier this year, and is an important first step: being to measure the size of the ibis population.

Techniques to disrupt roosting and nesting and therefore to limit the expansion of the population of ibis at Freshwater Lake will then be trialled after the results of this census are further understood.

Depending on the level of interest in our community, we may consider further seasonal counts of birds.

Ibis Management Strategy - endorsed on Monday 22 July 2019

Following our extensive community consultation and investigations by ecologists SEED Consulting an Ibis Management Strategy has been developed. A report on the Strategy went to the Asset Management Committee on Monday 15 July, 2019 (AMC 15/7/19 Item 3.66) and was endorsed by Council on Monday 22 July, 2019 with the following resolution:

1. That the report, which also summarises the community engagement process and community feedback, be received and noted.

2. That the Ibis Management Strategy be endorsed for implementation and that the costs associated with implementation be subject to Council Budget Bids in future financial years, commencing in FY 20/21.

3. That Council when implementing the Ibis Management Strategy will not utilise the intervention techniques of culling, relocation, egg disruption, tree removal or any other forms of species eradication.

4. That Mr Andy Chambers be thanked for his presentation and the presentation be included in the minutes.

The full strategy and committee report are available in the document library.

The key strategy actions endorsed by Council are summarised below.

  • Undertake a regular Ibis census (bird count) – counting the number of Ibis at Freshwater Lake Reserve to measure the size of the population before, during, and after the application of an action to measure its effect on the numbers of Ibis.
  • Continue to prune the palm trees annually to reduce roosting and nesting by Ibis.
  • Trial installation of bunting flags within trees – a disruptive technique that has worked elsewhere to reduce Ibis populations.
  • Trial installation of lighting – a disruptive technique that has worked elsewhere to reduce Ibis populations.
  • Contingent on which of the trialled methods proves most effective, a full rollout of that method will occur.
  • Continue to discourage feeding of birds through community education about the negative impacts such as increasing the numbers of Ibis.

A clear message received through the consultation was that the lack of cleanliness from the presence of bird faeces on paths and bench seats was a concern for visitors to Freshwater Lake Reserve. In response to this, wet sweeping of the paths is now done on a monthly cycle and bench seats are now inspected weekly basis and cleaned as necessary

It is important to note that Ibis will never be eradicated from the site. Investigations have determined that it is not ecologically possible to achieve total elimination of the Ibis from the site and that adopting an approach of living with wildlife is necessary.

Therefore, to limit the expansion of the local population, the previously described techniques to disrupt roosting and nesting will be used. Tree removal and destruction of ibis are not supported by ecological advice and community response.

Thank you for your interest and participation in the development of our Ibis Management Strategy. We will commence monitoring of the Ibis bird population and completing key actions over the coming months.

A detailed summary of the Ibis Management Strategy is available in the document library.

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Map your sightings of the Australian White Ibis

Drop a pin where you have seen Ibis and provide your comments and/or a photo.

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Ibis Discussion Board

Share your Ibis experiences. What it a positive or negative experience? Why?