OK, so above we have a diagram showing the anatomy of the ibis. That’s all very well, but it omits a vital evolutionary link. According to urban mythology, Sydney’s sacred ibis are a scary mutation of the seagull.
The story goes that over succeeding generations, one strain of gull became larger, more aggressive, and far more athletic, until…..voila!;
Instead of lolling about at the Sydney Cricket Ground as seagulls do, ibis roam the city’s parks mugging defenseless tourists. Some say the curve in their beaks is the result of constant entanglements with the straps of Nikon cameras.
They are always hungry, and oddly enough those beaks have evolved to the length of six inches, the exact depth of a MacDonalds’ fries packet. Fast food is definitely their favourite, but the old-fashioned packed lunch in a paper bag is always scoffed rather than scoffed at.
Here is an old boy enjoying dinner out in Hyde Park. As you can see, tying up your trash is no defence against a bird with a beak like a bloomin’ bayonet.
There is a lot of prejudice against urban ibis. They are despised, and labelled as dumpster divers and flying rats. The jokes and humiliations are endless.
Sometimes confrontations between the birds and other Sydneysiders reach crisis point;
No wonder a few urban ibis have become political agitators. I spotted one door knocking around the city to demand a fair go.
Ibis spend a lot of time walking about and snacking. Just as well really, because when they take to the air there can be awful consequences. I have cropped the photo below out of respect for the feathered victim, and for my readers’ feelings.
Despite such tragic incidents, the ibis population continues to thrive. The birds build a rather unruly nest of stick in a tree.
Of course baby ibis are cute..well sort of.
When they get older they trail around after mum squawking, ‘I want fries….I want fries!’ Eventually the little blighters wear her down.
In their own minds, these big birds are the kings of the city.
I think the fellow below was being employed by the Botanical Gardens as mascot for it’s current exhibition on carnivorous plants. He was standing at the entrance as ‘click bait’.
For those who are part of the Ibis Appreciation Society, here is the perfect gift, courtesy of my fellow bird lover, Evie Hanlon. I would urge a little caution about carrying it through a Sydney park though.
You know, despite all I have written, I wouldn’t worry too much about Mr Ibis. There is a far more alarming urban bird in Sydney. Ever heard of the Australian Brush Turkey??
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