HAPPY HARMONY: Pacific black ducks content with the wet conditions in Northern NSW.
HAPPY HARMONY: Pacific black ducks content with the wet conditions in Northern NSW.

Rain makes it lovely weather for the ducks

By HANNAH ROSS

DUCK for cover. Recent flooding in our region is providing irresistible conditions for loved-up birds looking for a bit of romance.

Ducks and other waterbirds are flocking to Northern NSW and areas of outback Queensland to take advantage of prime breeding conditions.

But the baby bonus is also creating additional threats for ducks, with National Party member for Eastern Victoria Peter Hall urging the Victorian Government to consider allowing a limited duck season with limited bag numbers.

Mr Hall said a decision to cancel this year’s duck hunting season in Victoria should be reviewed in light of recent heavy rainfalls that have helped birds breed.

He said conditions had improved since the Government decided to cancel the 2008 season.

“Some of the reasons for the decision in December related to habitat availability, the drought and below average breeding across much of the eastern part of Australia,” Mr Hall said.

“We are now well aware of the rains in Queensland and Northern NSW, and I am reliably informed water birds are flocking to those areas and breeding in literally tens of thousands,” he said.

However, water bird expert Richard Kingsford, of the University of New South Wales, said a 2008 hunting season would decimate a duck population struggling to make a comeback.

“The problem is ducks and water bird numbers have been declining for some time. Populations are so low they need a chance to bounce back,” Professor Kingsford said.

He said Victorian ducks and those from other parts of the country were travelling up to 1000km to breed in the flood zones, but there was no evidence they were flocking in their ‘tens of thousands’.

“Any season in 2008 would be killing birds from a small population,” he said.



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