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Happy Feathered Fathers Day

Did you know that many of our native waterbirds are not only monogamous but actively share in parenting?

Birds such as our beautiful Australian Shelduck, Pink-eared Duck, Australian Wood Duck and many more, are not only unique to our country. They regularly form life long bonds, enjoying love, family and even playfulness.

Often, both parents protect ducklings and are known to display pretend injured wings to divert intruders!

There is now little doubt that birds experience emotions similar to ourselves and that their bonds are likely based on long term loyalty and affection.

You're right, this video does not show traditional "game" birds like the unluckily termed aforementioned.

However sadly, our exquisite swans (monogamous) are also in the line of fire. In last year's shooter bag survey (Arthur Rylah Institute), it was reported that at just a small number of wetlands (it is believed less than 10) surveyed for wounded or unretrieved birds,18 birds were found including 9 dead black swans and 2 dead pelicans.

Not only do we inflict emotional and physical suffering on our native waterbirds during recreational shooting, we may disrupt the entire species' ability to survive.

When one parent is killed, almost certainly any offspring won’t survive. Further, a lifelong bond between parents may be broken from which the surviving partner might never fully recover or seek a new mate.

" We also have evidence that birds, particularly those with long-term bonds, are capable of deep emotional responses to loss of a partner and may even grieve in a way humans do. There is also ample evidence that fear and sorrow shorten life-spans of the survivors.

"We never thought that birds could think of past events or planned future events, and we now know they do and grieving for something that's lost in the past is a very strong expression," (Prof. G Kaplan)

Consider the story of Malena and Kiepetan (published recently in a Chinese news article);

The ultimate lovebird: Stork flies to the same rooftop every year for 14 years to be reunited with his crippled partner who cannot migrate after she was shot by a hunter

Klepetan the stork has returned to the same rooftop in East Croatia for last 14 years.

He flies 5,000 miles back from Africa to be reunited with his partner Malena who cannot fly properly after being shot by a hunter in village. They bring up chicks every summer with Klepetan leading flying lessons

Now thats love.

Video of swans having fun surfing at the Gold Coast - YouTube

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