Decline in magpies and kookaburras rings alarm bells in Australia

BirdLife Australia data shows that Australian magpies declined by 31 per cent in the East Coast region — including Sydney and Brisbane — between 1998 and 2013. "They declined by roughly 20 per cent in the South East Mainland Region, which includes Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide [for the same period]," Sean Dooley, BirdLife Australia's national public affairs manager, said. The data also reflected a dramatic decline in kookaburras (Dacelo novaeguineae) and birds of prey, suggesting carnivores were potentially more vulnerable to these unknown environmental changes. Although this did not mean magpies or kookaburras were endangered yet, it did indicate food and habitat conditions were under serious pressure.

Sean Dooley describes magpies (Pica pica) as being one of the few native bird success stories of European settlement. So when dwindling observations were recorded across 15 years of Birdlife Australia surveys, alarms bells started ringing.

Source: ABC News, April 27, 2020…