Bin chickens is an Aussie slang term given to the much maligned white ibis.
The Australian white ibis is actually one of three ibis species that are native to Oz, but their emergence as urban dwellers is a relatively recent phenomenon
Bin chickens would normally feed on a wide range of food including yabbies, worms, grasshoppers and crickets and their “natural stronghold” was the Murray-Darling Basin (the largest river system in Australia spanning 4 states and 1 territory).
But after years of drought, the birds were forced to find new environments to feed and breed. This led them to the inner-city streets of Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, where their adaptability has seen them thrive.
There is also a school of thought that the ibis adapted to city life after Sydney’s Taronga Zoo in the ’70s had a population of 14 ibis that were allowed to wander the grounds, encouraged to stay with daily meals. Naturally they started to breed freely and then expanded their habitat from the zoo to the Botanical Gardens, and then the city in general.
I’m not sure which is the true story (although I suspect it is probably both!).
While it seems the white ibis numbers are thriving, the overall number of white Ibis is actually declining. Even so, the ibis does have a bad reputation in city areas. Brisbane City Council became so frustrated with ibis in King George and Post Office squares that it hired a bird handler to scare them away using a wedge-tailed eagle.
The ibis won.
Have ibis made their way from wetlands to urban environments in your corner of the world?