It is mid-morning on Boxing Day, and some visitors are gracing the branch of a tree near Mulligan Drive at Waterview Heights. Three grey-crowned babblers are enjoying a momentary pause from their lives of vigorous movement – bounding across the ground, rummaging through leaf-litter, probing into rough bark on trees, and nearly always chattering.
But for now, it is time for some quiet preening, for caring for each other. Clustered side by side on the branch they share a moment of togetherness, a vivid symbol of life’s connectedness.
Grey-crowned babblers are a threatened species. Because they spend so much time hopping around on the ground searching for food, and at the same time joyfully ‘talking’ to each other, they are especially prone to cat attack.
A 29-lot subdivision proposed for Waterview Heights will be placed in grey-crowned babbler territory. A revised Koala Plan of Management has been prepared by the proponent, but what of the other threatened species, such as the babblers, for whom this area is so important? Have recent flora and fauna studies been carried out to determine the effect of this development on their future?
The babblers have the capacity to gladden human hearts. They project a joy in living. They are a vital part of our Earth Community, and they must not be added to Australia’s long list of extinctions.
However the subdivision, as proposed, is very likely to increase the pressure on these creatures. The number of unrestrained cat movements in the area may be substantially increased.
As the area is ‘tidied up,’ by creation of extensive meticulously mown lawns, and as the rough- barked trees and understorey are removed, so the babblers’ food source will be significantly reduced.
There is little doubt that the three creatures enjoying their wonderful moment of unity, have an uncertain future.