Did you know that most native waterbirds breed only once a year and only when conditions allow? Waterbird abundance is directly linked to wetland area and rainfall.
Record dry conditions have parched our country more frequently in recent years, a trend likely to worsen.
Last year, the 37th edition of the most robust long term scientific study of waterbirds in east Australia was published, comparing wetland area, water bird abundance and breeding richness.
It was a horror report. All key indices were well below average and in serious long term decline.
Wetland area was the lowest ever recorded since surveys began in the 1980's. Native waterbird abundance remained well below the long term average and there was little breeding recorded. What little there was, was mainly due to ibis and swans. Little wetland habitat meant little opportunity existed for large scale movement of birds between north and south.
Even so, the Game Management Authority (GMA) - the taxpayer funded body led by duck shooters and criticised for being too close to shooters - claimed our native waterbirds could withstand another recreational shooting season.
GMA say a small increase in birds observed in Queensland (which they also say cannot be relied upon as birds are more visible in drought) means birds in Victoria (whose numbers have declined sharply) are fine to be in the firing line. To most people, this not only defies science but logic and reason.
It gets worse.
Recent rains in some areas have seen the occasional duckling finally come to be, their parents opportunistic in a pitiful attempt to repopulate their native species.
In just over a month, these babies will likely see the parents they still rely on for survival, shot. They may even be shot themselves as is too often the case, alongside protected species like egrets, herons, swans and pelicans.
There is no doubt that young, otherwise healthy birds of breeding age, who could have assisted to regenerate a species, will be gunned down before they've had the chance.
This is not sustainability.
This is not humane.
This is not the way to protect the assets of our struggling rural towns.
It's time our politicians did the right thing. This bird shooting season must be cancelled.
2019 East Australian Annual Waterbird Survey, Centre for Ecosystem Science, University NSW.
GMA Considerations for 2020 Duck Shooting https://www.regionalvictoriansotds.com/2020-duck-season-considerations-gma