Saturday 23rd of October 2021

the ibis was a symbol of pharaohs, now it is the symbol of dustbins: nothing goes to waste...

bin chicken

A regional council in Western Australia is embracing the much-maligned bin chicken's cousin in the hope of capturing the hearts and minds of residents and visitors.

Key points:
  • Residents near a lake in Albany, southern WA, are concerned about growing numbers of straw-necked ibis, saying the birds are noisy, smelly and messy
  • The local council is trying to change attitudes towards the ibis by urging residents to "embrace nature"
  • There are three types of ibis in Australia: the straw-necked ibis, the glossy ibis and the Australian white ibis, dubbed the bin chicken


For years, residents near Lake Seppings, in suburban Albany, have complained about the smell, noise and mess made by growing numbers of straw-necked ibis.

Now the City of Albany hopes to change attitudes towards the bird by urging residents to "grab their camera" and "embrace nature".

City reserves manager Jacqui Freeman said it was a shame ibis were sometimes seen as a pest as they played an important role in natural wetland ecology.

"Lake Seppings is a great example of a functional wetland and ecosystem in an urban setting, which provides unique experiences like this where nature can be observed at its best," she said.

"Unfortunately this is not felt by all as with the increase in bird numbers also comes some additional noise, smells and large flocks flying overhead."


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Picture at top by Gus Leonisky.


ibises, the magicians of recycling...

Thoth is one of the oldest Neters, or deities, worshipped in Ancient

Egypt where he also was called Djehuti. 

Thoth is usually portrayed as having the body of a man and the 

head of an ibis. The man's body tells us that he represents 

masculine aspects of nature. The head of the ibis tells us that 

Thoth is associated with the principles and aspects of this bird

which was sacred to the Ancient Egyptians.

Thoth was later called Hermes by the Greeks and Mercury by the

Romans. Therefore the aspects attributed to both Hermes and 

Mercury are the same attributes which were originally attributed to


Thoth is the deity who is recognized for bestowing all arts and

sciences unto mankind. This includes, but is not limited to,

art, music, writing, speech, communication, Words, Symbols,

numbers, mathematics, geometry, counting, measuring, land

surveying, astronomy, astrology, science, logic, medicine,

magic and the mystical arts.

It is because Thoth bestowed such an enormous amount of

knowledge and Wisdom upon humanity that he was recognized 

and honored as a great magician. This is made clear to us by

one of the titles originally attributed to him: Ur heka.

When we analyze the title Ur heka we get the following definition:

Ur translates as first, original or primary. Heka is the Egyptian

Neter (god / Divine Principle) of Magic.


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the other bin birds flip the lids...

The sulphur-crested cockatoo has recently attracted international attention — and its own moniker — the "jerk bird".

It's all thanks to its bin-day behaviour: one cockie stands to the side of a bin, lifts the lid then inches along the side of the bin, holding the lid in its beak or foot until it's finally able to flip the lid back.

From there the cockie melodramatically throws tin foil and plastics, biscuit boxes and roast chicken bags up and out of the bin while other individuals wait around and rip everything apart.

It makes a heck of a mess, but these behaviours, seen by some as pesky, might actually be an example of animal technical innovation and cultural transmission that's new to science.

They could be so significant that a team of researchers from Germany have been spending months in Sydney's suburbs studying the sulphur-crested larrikins.


Bin raiding is a good example of how they use their brains and behavioural flexibility to access new resources, said Lucy Aplin from the Max Planck Institute of Ornithology, who's leading the Clever Cockie Project.

"It's a resource they're using to allow them to exist in these areas. And I think it's pretty amazing they've managed to do this," Dr Aplin said.

"It's annoying if it's your bins, but it's also an amazing example of behavioural adaptation."

And while bin cockies might be a relatively new phenomenon, it's clear that cockies have had a big impact on Australian cultural life for a very long time.

In 1988, the "sulphur-crested gang" caused some $50,000 worth of damage to the roof of the National Herbarium of New South Wales in Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens.


The cockies' rooftop antics caused rain to leak into the herbarium vault where millions of dollars' worth of botanical specimens were kept.


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Sulphur-crested Cockatoos. This big proud-looking ungainly white bird, according to most human ear, would have the most screeching call of all. One could think that professor cockatoo is scratching a chalk on a blackboard. In town they fly in small flocks of up to a dozen, screeching away, scratching away, and destroying things for pleasure it seems. Recently a flock of cockatoos destroyed the set of Opera in the Park... Not uncommon to have cladding of houses made of reasonably soft cedar-pine also destroyed by the "bloody cockatoos". The damage is unreal. You can try to chase them away, don't worry, they will come back in bigger numbers and eat the wipers of your car as well. Their flight is erratic. Possibly they have too much wing surface for their weight and when they fly, it seems as if they were drunk. Their beak is a powerful weapon. Their eyes are cheeky.



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waste bin-hunter humans...

Saving Food Waste

A Crash Course in Dumpster Diving

Taking food out of supermarket dumpsters is illegal in Germany. But the practice is growing in popularity. Even as some stores try to keep the dumpster divers away, those interested can sign up for courses in "beginner diving."

There are myriad treasures to be recovered this evening. And if the cries of enthusiasm are any measure, the most valuable is a kohlrabi. A student pulls it from a garbage bin behind a Penny Markt discount supermarket in the city of Aachen. Kohlrabi, after all, is her favorite vegetable; no other find can compete with that bounty.

bout a dozen young people, most of them students, are wandering through Aachen on this July night learning how to dumpster dive -- how to rescue food from supermarket garbage bins. For most of them, it's their first time. They say they aren't doing it for financial reasons, but because they find it a good idea due to their critical approach to consumerism.

They are being guided by experienced dumpster divers, who offer these kinds of tours every couple of weeks. One of the guides is Tobias Koschmieder, 32, who works in an assisted living facility. "I don't see why I should pay for food when I can have it for free because others have thrown it away," he says. Another is Christian Walter, 30, who also works in the "social sphere." The problem, he says, is capitalism, which requires overproduction. He says he himself is a socialist.

About 18 million tons of food are thrown out in Germany every year. According to calculations by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), that is equivalent to all the food produced in the country between the start of the year and May 2.


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singing like a dead magpie...


A notorious magpie whose habit of swooping on passers-by in Sydney led to dozens of complaints was shot dead, prompting an outcry from magpie lovers.

The local council defended shooting the "particularly aggressive" bird, saying the decision was "not taken lightly".

The magpie had attacked people in the Hills Shire area of the city, sending some to hospital, local media reported.

The Australian magpie is a different species to the European bird with which it shares its name.

During mating season, the Australian magpie can become aggressive and attack humans crossing its territory. But the species is protected by law and can only be dealt with by local authorities.

The Hills Shire magpie was shot by the council after more than 40 complaints, the council said. One resident suffered a heart attack following an attack, Australia's national broadcaster ABC reported.


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"The Hills" is where the Hillsong mega religious group was first formed in the world...

And please note Aussie Maggies are about three times the size of those of Europe... Cyclists in magpie territory often place sharp strong metal needles on their helmets to deter the attacking birds, that also include Currawongs... I have been attacked by seagulls, alla The Birds by Hitchcock, and also Plovers. Boy these can really make damage if you piss them off by coming too close to their nest on the ground. It's all part of nature, except for the Council bullets...

All these big birds, the currawongs, the magpies and also the crows (ravens, the size of vultures) are often attacked by much smaller birds defending their own nests...



Read from top. The Ibises stay about two metres away from the human folks, even when busy raiding a bin...


Image at top: picture by Gus Leonisky of a art installation outside the Maitland Gallery.