The statewide Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) community survey was conducted on Sunday 31 October 2010. In total 8957 ibis were counted, with 43 people submitting reports for 209 locations across the State.
The majority of ibis were reported within the Sydney region (7108). However, reports were received from Tathra in the south (near Bega) to Stotts Creek in the north (near Tweed Heads) and Hay in the west. The regional breakdown was as follows:
- Sydney region: 7108 ibis, 179 sites,
- Northern (coast to dividing range): 1045 ibis, 16 sites,
- Southern (coast to dividing range): 731 ibis, 11 sites,
- Western (west of dividing range): 73 ibis, 4 sites.
At the time of the survey, much of the state was soaked by rain and ibis were observed to be foraging naturally within parks and paddocks. However, ibis have learnt to get an easy meal from human leftovers, and large numbers of ibis (4462, or 50%) were reported foraging within landfills across the state. Nesting was reported from sites across the Sydney region, a colony at Blackwall Point near Gosford, and on Big Island off the coast of Wollongong.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has been banding nestling and adult ibis for 7 years in conjunction with universities and land managers to improve our understanding of ibis behaviour in the urban environment. The annual community survey provides an ideal opportunity to locate banded birds to aid our understanding of the habitat use and movements of ibis. During the recent survey, 93 banded ibis were observed.
Large numbers of banded ibis were seen in Centennial Park and the Sydney city parks e.g. Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Garden, all of which have been banding sites. However, ibis are highly mobile, and birds banded at these sites were also observed at sites across Sydney (e.g. Auburn, Belrose, Eastern Creek, Lucas Heights and Rockdale) and in Wollongong and Gosford.