Hundreds Flock to Lake McIntyre

The Lake McIntyre Straw-necked Ibis population certainly haven’t heard of self-isolating or social-distancing. There have been flocks of several hundreds, even into the thousands, frequenting the lake over the last couple of months.

They arrive each year as the water level gets lower and the numbers appear to reflect the amount of water that is available to them within our area. As more water disappears from the paddocks and smaller wetlands, and our lake continues to hold water, more birds fly in after feeding in the dry paddocks. As they eat a wide variety of insects, including grasshoppers and locusts, they are welcomed by most farmers and graziers.

This photo was taken on 29th March this year and shows many Straw-necked Ibis surrounding a lone Australian Pelican
This photo (above) was taken ten years ago (February 2010), and shows a remarkable similarity with the previous photo. I wonder if it is the same Pelican?

The Straw-necked Ibis gets its name from the long feathers on its neck, which are straw-like not only in colour, but project naked quills that look similar to cornstalks. These feathers  play a part in both courtship and aggression.

They make nests on platforms of rushes that they flatten either in low bushes or on the ground close to the water. The young are born with short straight bills and do not get the sickle-shaped bill until they are 3 months old.

The black feathers on their back are glossy and have a metallic purple and green sheen, making them very colourful.