Final Report May 2017. Report submitted to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO), Department of Environment and Energy by CSIRO
About the document
Waterbirds in the Macquarie Marshes made the most of very good conditions between July 2016 and February 2017, when environmental water was used to support successful waterbird breeding.
The Commonwealth and NSW governments used a total of 46,413 megalitres of water in the Marshes to address two priorities for 2016-17: supporting waterbirds by watering their critical breeding and feeding habitat, and seizing opportunities to build on natural flows to support waterbird breeding.
The CSIRO conducted short-term monitoring on behalf of the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to assess both the impacts of predators during waterbird breeding and the birds’ patterns of movement away from the colony during and after breeding.
The Commonwealth Environmental Water Office contracted the CSIRO to undertake a short-term monitoring project to assess the impacts of predation on breeding colonies, where waterbirds forage and roost, and their dispersal patterns after breeding.
The CSIRO’s key observations provides new insights into bird behaviour:
- Monitoring from remote cameras estimated high hatching rates and chick survival rates. At the time that monitoring ended, an average of two chicks had survived per straw-necked ibis nest and an average of three chicks had survived per royal spoonbill nest.
- Few mortalities of straw-necked ibis were observed from remote cameras installed in the Monkeygar colony.
- Three male and two female adult straw-necked ibis were fitted with satellite GPS transmitters during the breeding event.
- Satellite tracking identified common ‘flyways’ or movement corridors with key foraging and stopover points in Victoria and NSW.
- ‘Pairing’ of habitats for roosting and foraging was also observed. Adults foraged near remnant vegetation with large trees for roosting. Juveniles appeared to roost in one part of the nesting colony, but spend the day creching in another part of the colony up to 100m away.
The straw-necked ibis satellite tracking forms part of the Environmental Water Knowledge and Research project. For more information on the project visit: Waterbird breeding and movements: Knowledge for water managers or visit the Facebook page: Colonial-nesting Waterbirds Australia: Science for Management.
Information collected from the monitoring will inform adaptive environmental water management in the Macquarie Marshes and at other important waterbird locations across the basin.
Left: Straw-necked ibis nesting at Monkeygar. Photo, CSIRO. Right: Movement corridors for straw necked ibis.