The terror of the Australian White Ibis
When wildlife goes very very wrong… Pigeons, seagulls, sparrows, robins and other urbanised birds don’t strike me as out of place – but the urbanised ibis – it just seems wrong. They are native to northern Australia but were introduced to the southern part of the country in the 60s and 70s. This fellow is probably descended from the free range birds ‘kept’ in the Sydney Zoo that were allowed to go feral. As they are native, they are a protected species, but they have become rare in the wild now. They are pretty much an urban pest and health hazard. And they smell ‘odd.’
While those long beaks were once considered perfect for digging into the ground and reaching up for insects, they are now just perfect for digging into rubbish bins. Or snatching little kids’ sandwiches or ice cream cones. They have virtually no fear of humans – and why should they – standing up to 75 cm tall (2.5 feet), plus the beak! This is a medium sized ibis next to a rather large seagull. They travel in flocks which can be very intimidating and people are strongly discouraged from feeding them.
The lady in question here was rather foolish. Within seconds after I took this shot, she was literally up against the wall, surrounded by ibis and gulls, too many to feed. She was a wee bit shaken, but they didn’t attack. But maybe next time… a real-life version of The Birds.