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17 Dec

Chinan birds are way off track as the drought impacts food supply

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Who you looking at? This barn owl normally lives inland but there has been an “eruption” of sightings of them along the NSW and Victorian coasts, as they seek food in the drought.Birds are on the move around South-East , drought forcing them into areas where they’ve never been sighted before.

Very few people have ever seen an n bustard in Nyngan, NSW,nor a rare swift parrot in southern Queensland.

The rare regent honeyeater was seen recently in Nowra on the NSW South Coast, far from its normal range in the Capertee Valley near Mudgee.

Also the Victorian mallee’s yellow-plumed honeyeater was seen for the first time in Canberra.

The rare swift parrot, which nests in Tasmania, is going far afield to find food, and has been spotted in the high alpine country in NSW for the first time and even as far as southern Queensland.

And an avid twitcher spotted the inland dwellling crimson chat at Sydney airport.

Birds are moving further afield than ever before to find food in the drought. Graphic by Josh Hall, Fairfax.

The migration is astounding birdwatchers who are lapping up the rare sightings.Unfortunately, it’s a signthings are not well.

The drought has dramatically reduced nestings and forced birds to look further afield for food, as many stands of eucalypts such as the white box have not flowered over winter. The loss of nectar is hurting beekeepers – and birds.

Sean Dooley, of Birdlife , said similar migrations occurred in the millenium drought, but in this drought there had been many very unusual and unique sightings. “The haunting thing is that although many birdwatchers are enjoying seeing these rare sightings, there’s this underlying reality that those birds may never return to their normal range,” he said.

The city of Sydney for instance has become a refuge for many birds including chats and songlarks, normally only seen in inland open country.

Drought-hit birds take off in search of food TweetFacebookHere’s list of some bird movements:Regent honeyeater: Normal range: Capertee Valley, Mudgee. Spotted: NSW Coast, Nowra.

Swift Parrot: Normal range: Tasmania, Eastern Victoria, South Coast NSW. Spotted: southern Queensand, Kosciuzsko, Nyngan, Hay.

n bustard: Normal range: inland . Spotted: North-West victoria, Nyngan, NSW.

Black shouldered kite, black kite: Normal range: inland. Spotted: Vic Coast

Yellow-plumed honeyeater: Normal range:Victorian mallee. Spotted: Southern NSW, Cootamundra, first ever sighting Canberra.

Barn owl: Normal range: inland.Spotted: Victorian, NSWcoasts.

Rufous songlark: Normal range: inland, open country. Spotted: Rockdale, Sydney, Sydney airport.

Crimson chat: Normal range:open country inland. Spotted: Centennial Park, Sydney.

The Land

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