News

Bringing back the brolgas

By Country News

An environmental water wetlands group and a Burramine farmer have teamed up to turn a recycle dam into a wetland in the hope of attracting brolgas and other birdlife onto the property.

AgFocus magazine, with this week’s Country News, tells the story of farmer Rod O’Kane, who is working with an environmental group to win back the native birds, after drought and predatory foxes wrought havoc on the population.

‘‘Prior to the drought in 2001 — around about 1998 — the brolgas came and utilised the dam as a breeding area and it all worked really good in a couple of wet years except for the foxes,’’ Mr O’Kane said.

‘‘The foxes used to snaffle the eggs and the chicks before they could fledge so we got a bit of help and built a fox-proof fence around the dam and the brolgas came back and to our great joy they nested and produced a chick and that chick fledged and flew off. It was the most successful operation.

‘‘Then we struck the years of the drought from ’01 to ’10; the dam was dry.

‘‘I tried and tried to get environmental water off the government and couldn’t seem to do any good and eventually Jeff Parry (who was working at the time at Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority) was doing some consulting work out here and he said, ‘I’ll put you onto a crowd that might be able to help you’ and that turned out to be the Murray Darling Wetlands Group.’’