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Wildlife in the Cities
Do you share your roof with a brush tailed possum or do flying foxes munch on your fruit trees? Perhaps you are a serial feeder of rainbow lorikeets or delight in the choruses of magpies, currawong, kookaburras and butcher birds while lamenting the loss of tiny silver eyes and blue wrens and wincing at the ravages of road kill you pass on your drive to work.

For better or for worse, some of our native fauna have managed to find a niche for themselves in our sprawling cities and suburbs while others have simply faded away.

Professor Darryl Jones from Griffith University has published widely on the interactions of people and wildlife in urban settings.  He is joined by colleagues from a range of Australian Universities and environmental groups in presenting a series that looks at the often uneasy relationship city dwellers have with their native neighbours.

  The amazing Compton Road Fauna Crossing
Please click here to access this series which has been included in the Creative Conservation Category

  Griffith University: National Birdbath project
This series has been included in the Citizen Science Category. Please click here.

  Who feed the wildlife - and why? (series)
Some say we may
others insist we MUST NOT
nevertheless it seems
we do
and we will continue to do so
and not merely a few of us to boot.


A new kind of bookmaker
Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from Griffith University, explores some of the background motivations and the eventual publishing machinations of his book The Birds at My Table. Right from the beginning Professor Jones had a strong motivation to write the book. He thought it was an important topic that needs to be discussed in great detail by everybody, not just scientists or academics. He also wanted to tell Australians what was really going on with bird feeding because it was a controversial issue. 
Publishing a popular science book I
Style Counsel Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from Griffith University, outlines the process of making his just-published book, The Birds at My Table. Books don’t come out of nowhere so they must be important to authors who devote a lot of their time to them. Authors have to be thoughtful about who might be interested in a particular topic and therefore might buy a book on this. As The Birds at My Table was a popular science book, Professor Jones wanted to reach people who were already feeding wild birds. This required a different style of writing from typical scientific papers . After the book was written, he spent a fruitless year and a half trying to approach publishers throughout the world,. He contacted about 50 publishers and only five said they would look at it and only two actually read it!. His problem was specific in that he was writing a book in Australia about something that mostly happens elsewhere. Publishers said it wasn’t appropriate for an Australian to be writing on a topic that wasn’t a big thing in Australia compared to the US or the UK. As soon as he had agent on board, however, everything changed. This was somebody who knew the system, could communicate with publishers and knew which publishers to approach. She was able to deal with the detailed technical contracts that are part of publishing. Other successful authors swear by this process, allowing them to concentrate on writing the book, leaving the technical stuff to someone who knows what they are doing. The eventual publisher was impressed by an outsider looking at what was going on in the feeding of wild birds. They are pleased with the launches and book events in Australia and now the US and UK. The path to publishing can be a rocky one. It is quite clear that the process of creative writing is assisted by some style counsel.
Publishing a popular science book II
The write approach: Professor Darryl Jones, urban ecologist from Griffith University and author of the book The Birds at My Table, gives some advice for those who want to publish in the scientific field..Professor Jones strongly believes that anyone involved in publically funded scientific research has an obligation to communicate it. This should be done in a style that is accessible to the general public and doesn’t diminish the complexities of the scientific work. It is an antidote to the standard approach from academics that journalists don’t understand their work and don’t report it well. Once senior colleagues told him he was wasting too much time writing popular articles and should concentrate on scientific journals but now you get brownie points for appearing in the general public.

  Common (Indian) Myna birds
Clearing the bush has created Myna (and Miner) heaven - but are they really the environmental disasters their mythical reputations portray?

  Brash city brawlers: Rainbow Lorikeets
The Rainbow Lorikeet, a coastal eucalypt forest inhabitant, has become one of the few native birds that have successfully survived intense urbanisation, and urbanisation is probably their unintentional saviour.

  Road sense for small birds
Associate Professor Darryl Jones, from Griffith University, looks at the ecological impacts of roads which dissect the lands and habitats of creatures and measures which can reunite them.

  Koala Crossroad
An exciting and successful strategy to provide koalas with safe crossing under (or over) main roads being rolled out in Redlands, Brisbane.
Please click here to access the file which has been included in the category Road Ecology - a fancy name for Road Kill.


  Ravens and crows: black, beautiful and very, very bright
Talking points: While ravens and crows generally receive a ‘bad press’, they are some of the most fascinating and brightest of birds.  Professor Darryl Jones, from Griffith University, explains why crows have gained a deserved reputation as the smartest bird in the world. Crows are among the few birds which have a true repertoire of calls. As well as “arks” there are weird clucks, clicks and gurgles, all part of having a big brain and being seriously smart. We now know that crows have the most complex calls, vocalisations and communication of any animal apart from humans. This communication is more complicated than dolphins and whales and exhibits more syntax in its construction, which is why people are now using the word language to describe it. Crows weren’t in cities like Sydney until 50-60 years ago but have moved in very successfully and are doing really well, having worked out exactly how to co-exist with humans. They learn quickly, are very attentive, observant and don’t take risks. Crows watch and interpret human behaviour so they are almost impossible to trap as they know what is going on. Given a choice between an immediate food reward or a better one if they wait, crows will wait 72 hours for the better reward. This means they are actually thinking ahead, something no other animal (apart from chimps and orangutans) can do. Crows are now nesting on buildings in southern Queensland and Darryl will have a “crow cam” at Griffith University soon. Whichever way you look at it, there are a lot of talking points for crows.

  Magpie swoops
The who, when, where and possibly why of this bold, breeding behaviour.

  The Brush Turkey - another successful urban survivor
They're not just survivors - they are success stories even in Sydney's suburban backyards

  Bandicoots, Brush Turkeys and Swamp Wallabies
Why Bandicoots, Brush Turkeys and Swamp Wallabies are reappearing in bushland and backyards in Sydney’s north. - the success of councils' fox control.

  Suburban sanctuaries the NZ way
How a successful New Zealand model of reclaiming island ecologies is being transplanted to urban environments.

  Saving the Kereru in New Zealand
Associate Professor Darryl Jones from Griffith University talks about another New Zealand success story, this time a native pigeon called the Kereru.

  City dwelling Birds of Prey
One group of larger native species that is making an 'urban comeback' is the birds of prey – both daytime and night hunters.

  The not so Sacred Ibis
NOTE: growing research about the White Ibis is presented in the Citizen Science category of this website. Please access by clicking hereThis native ibis have always been around farms and grasslands but in the last couple of decades they have moved into inner city areas and have earned a reputation as an unwelcome scavenger.

  How well are native aquatic reptiles surviving in urban environments?
Darryl Jones discusses projects by two of his Honours students that examined the survival of two of our common aquatic reptiles - freshwater turtles and water dragons.

  Where have our small mammals gone?
Small native mammals are among the sensitive creatures that disappear with the first signs of urbanisation. When we clear the bush for the next suburbs, the local animals don’t just move to the next patch of bush. By and large they die. They simply go locally extinct.

  How drought affects wildlife in the cities

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