Nuisance Birds in Sydney, Australia: Not What You Might Expect

In Toronto there are 2 species of birds which can disturb you if you are eating outside at a steetside café. Pigeons and House Sparrows might land on your table or walk about underneath. Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds have also been known to be bothersome.

As a longtime Toronto resident, it came as quite a surprise to see that in Sydney Australia there are three quite different species who watch and wait for any opening to steal a bite.

Gulls are omnivores meaning that they will eat anything. A species called the Silver Gull is abundant near the cafés which line the routes to the Sydney Opera House.


Silver Gull

Silver Gull

Lovely red feet and bill do not increase their popularity with strollers and diners.


Silver Gulls

They stand on the canvas tents covering the outdoor restaurant seating and keep a close eye out for inattentive diners.


Silver Gull

Silver Gull

You can see the webbed feet from beneath:

Restaurant menus warn patrons:

Silver Gull
Silver Gull

Another “pest” bird is the Myna. Mynas, which are in the starling family, originated in India but have been introduced into Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Hawaii and on many Polynesian islands. They do great damage to seabird colonies by eating the eggs and some islands have eradicated them.

Myna

Just like the Silver Gulls they frequent outdoor cafés.

Myna
Myna

The most spectacular by far of these “nuisance” birds is the Australian White Ibis.

Australian White Ibis
Australian White Ibis

Apparently, the land on which Sydney stands used to be marshland; the natural habitat for Ibis. As the marsh was filled in, the clever Ibis learned to co-exist with man and have little or no fear as these photos demonstrate:

Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis

Australian White Ibis

In the Royal Botanic Garden they have put up spikes to keep the Ibis from roosting:

Miles Hearn

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