Bin chickens back to breed at Albany’s Lake Seppings

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
An Australian white ibis (left) and straw-necked ibis (right) at Lake Seppings.
Camera IconAn Australian white ibis (left) and straw-necked ibis (right) at Lake Seppings. Credit: Laurie Benson

The bin chickens are back in force at Lake Seppings to the delight of some and the disgust of others.

Flocks of hundreds of ibises have started to descend on the region’s only known breeding site to nest and raise their chicks.

While the migration highlights the importance of local wetlands, it also ruffles the feathers of some residents.

Last year, the City of Albany and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions undertook a study of the growing ibis population after residents voiced concerns with nesting starting earlier in the year and in different areas of the lake.

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At the time, City reserves manager Jacqui Freeman said the study aimed to identify “suitable management solutions”, but a cull would not be considered.

Yesterday, Mr Freeman said the ibises played an important role in the local wetland ecology and it was a shame they were sometimes seen as a pest.

“Lake Seppings is a great example of a functional wetland and ecosystem in an urban setting, which provides unique experiences like this where nature can be observed at its best,” she said.

“Unfortunately, this is not felt by all as with the increase in bird numbers also comes some additional noise, smells and large flocks flying overhead.

“The City has been monitoring numbers and water quality over the past few years and have observed the birds are now only returning to breed.

“Once they’ve bred, they are dispersing, reducing the numbers back down for the majority of the year, although we’ve noticed this fluctuates depending on the weather patterns.”

Ms Freeman said she encouraged residents to grab their camera, embrace nature and enjoy the annual breeding event.

The Australian white ibis and straw-necked ibis are native species protected under the Wildlife Act.

They choose Lake Seppings for breeding because of a lack of other suitable nesting sites.

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