Beloved Birds Return to Islands for First Time in 40 Years After Damming Damage Reversed

What’s secretive, pretends to be a stick, and is sometimes confused with a mythical creature? The answer lies in the enigmatic presence of the Australasian bittern, a bird that has stealthily reclaimed its habitat in Tasmania after a 40-year absence. This remarkable return marks a triumph over the ecological damage wrought by damming projects in the mid-20th century, which disrupted the delicate balance of the Lagoon of Islands. Once drowned by rising water levels and submerged islands, the wetland ecosystem now teems with life, echoing with the haunting calls of the bittern, a species that has long been shrouded in mystery.

With a haunting cry reminiscent of the mythical Bunyip, a creature of Aboriginal legend, the Australasian bittern embodies a certain mystique. Though not a mythical beast itself, this elusive bird employs cunning camouflage, resembling a cluster of reeds as it stands motionless, blending seamlessly into its surroundings. The return of the bittern to Tasmania signifies more than just the resurgence of a single species; it heralds the restoration of an entire ecosystem. As birders and scientists alike celebrate this milestone, the Lagoon of Islands stands as a testament to the resilience of nature and the power of restoration efforts to heal the scars of human intervention.


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