Migratory birds from around the world flock to South Australia’s internationally important Coorong region made famous by the movie Storm Boy.
But scientists say the River Murray flood has been “disastrous” for the region’s bird species, prompting urgent calls for better management and intervention of the river system.
Nesting sites of the region’s rarest and most vulnerable bird species have been flooded, while an algal bloom is also limiting the food source for migratory shorebirds that flock to the region near the Murray Mouth to feed over summer.
University of Adelaide ecologist David Paton said the impact of the flood could have been prevented.
“We’re probably sitting at a third of the numbers we counted last year and that’s probably more like one 10th of what it should be,” Dr Paton told ABC News.
“That’s a direct result of the high water.”