One happy duck

Extensive drought conditions throughout eastern Australia have severely impacted waterbird numbers and resulted in the lowest breeding levels on record – and yet the Victorian State Government has ignored experts and policy advisers and has permitted the duck shooting season to go ahead, sealing the fate of approximately 250,000 native waterbirds.

Duck shooting is not a sport. There is nothing sporting about concealed shooters waiting for native waterbirds to fly towards decoys. There is nothing sporting about spraying ducks with 200 pellets from the blast of a shotgun.

Just before sunrise tomorrow morning the carnage will begin. There won’t be enough light to accurately identify all species. Not all shooters will have taken the inadequate Waterbird Identification Test, some deficiencies of which I explained in Season of Shame. Not all shooters will care what they shoot, as discussed in Season of Shame and Season of Shame – Part 2 (Graphic). Not all shooters will clean up after themselves. Last season I was sickened by the amount of rubbish discarded by shooters, including spent cartridges, empty alcohol cans and bottles, and human waste. And among the filth were feather pits where our native birds, that are protected for 9 months of the year, had been plucked. There were severed wings, feet and heads, and abandoned ‘game’ birds. There were endangered birds like Freckled Duck hidden under rocks and coot stashed in tree hollows while swans, kites, pelicans, cormorants, Musk Duck and numerous other species were left to rot where they fell.

This is not about controlling bird numbers for ecological benefit, it’s not about culling feral species, it’s about appeasing the vociferous 0.4% of Victorians who derive pleasure from killing birds.

 

Grey Teal SmilingGrey Teal – one happy duck
1/800, f/5.6, ISO 400

 

I urge everyone opposed to duck shooting to take a moment to write to your local MP so our voices can be heard advocating for our wildlife – it worked in Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. More information can be found in the links above and on these pages: ABC News, Coalition Against Duck Shooting and Animals Australia.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if all our native waterbirds could look as happy as this week’s teal?

Happy birding, Kim

 

NEWSFLASH  lirralirra was delayed today as I awaited the formal announcement of the closure of a major wetland due to 150 Blue-billed Ducks being on the lake – you little beauties! Heaps of thanks to CADS and AA for filing an injunction with the Supreme Court and to the Victorian Government responding so swiftly. All the best to the wildlife rescuers – you’re little beauties too!

 

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