Pelicans Update

On the 20th of June, it was announced that five pelican roosting platforms will be installed on the Bribie Island Bridge.  

After months of protesting, locals are relieved that there is a solution being implemented. The five new perch platforms will repurpose the bridge’s old lights and sit over the water, opposite the new LED lights and will be installed next month, weather permitting. 

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey has said Bribie Island residents had shown how much they love the island’s pelicans, and the new solution would ensure the pelicans could continue to roost on the bridge without damaging the lights. 

“After residents told me concerns earlier this year, I asked the department to look at solutions. I’m pleased that crews will now install dedicated roosting platforms for the pelicans on the bridge so residents and visitors can continue to enjoy their presence as they drive along the bridge,” Mr Bailey said.  

Speaking with the President of the Bribie Island Environmental Protection Association (BIEPA) Management Committee, Diane Oxenford, earlier this month the ideal solution would have been for the deterrents to be removed.  

“The spikes have the potential to tear the pelicans’ webbed feet if they attempt to land on the deterrents,” she said. 

Mr Bailey has said “Unfortunately, road crews were constantly replacing lights on the bridge that were damaged by waste from the pelicans sitting on top of them. It often meant workers replacing the lights also needed to partially close traffic lanes, which was often costly and inconvenient for locals. It’s great that we’ve been able to come up with a solution that means the birds can continue to roost on the bridge while retaining the energy efficient LED lights that are providing better, safer lighting  and reducing ongoing maintenance costs.” 

However, there are still concerns as the deterrents will remain and platforms are only being put out for five instead of all twelve of the lights. 

After the announcement was released Diane Oxenford said “It is not enough for the TMR to replace only 5 of the 13 roosts removed.  So, BIEPA has recommended that all 13 be replaced, considering the birds are protected by international agreements.” 

In a media statement, BIEPA has said “BIEPA remains concerned with some misleading claims being perpetuated by the News Media. Facts should be checked. For example: “Key Points” being perpetuated……. 

1. Pelican poo affected the lights’ efficiency 

a) Observe photo of pelican roosting on light fixture. The pelican’s feet and 

body size preclude the possibility for excessive poo deposits on the fixture. 

b) LEDs are cooler and would NOT be a burn risk to the birds. 

c) Pelicans do not roost on the lights at night - NO burn risk to the birds. 

d) These outdoor street light fixtures would (it is hoped) be world’s best practice 

and designed and finished to withstand salt spray and anything Mother Nature 

forces upon them. Rain, wind and sun would clean the light fixtures. 

2. Pelicans are considered to be migratory birds and as such they and their habitat 

(albeit, in this case, man-made) are protected by the United Nations Convention 

on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) (signed by Australia in 1991). 

Their habitat is also protected by the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (signed 

by Australia in 1993) and Moreton Bay Marine Park status (signed 1992) 

a) No Environmental Impact Assessment was carried out before roosts were 

removed.” 

Chris Wilson, the organiser of the protest march across the bridge on behalf of the pelicans, said she was happy a solution was being implemented but concerned the deterrents would still be in place. 

“They’re a bird that travels long distances, so it is protected under all sorts of laws. And it roosts at Bribie and is part of our community, they’re the welcoming sign to everybody that comes to Bribie Island and it is like we’re living in a desert without them. These birds are living in manmade environments because their trees that they need to feed from and perch on are gone. So they have taken to sitting on the bridge and bringing people happiness… For 27 years they’ve sat on those lights,” said Chris. 

Diane Oxenford also mentioned the protections the Pelicans fall under when spoken to, “Bribie Island is an internationally protected Sanctuary for Fauna and Flora, and yet its natural assets 

and environment are not marketed that way. The Tourism Model needs to change if we are going 

to prevent any further destruction of habitat, especially for our endangered Migratory Birds and 

Turtles.” 

Since our initial conversation, Chris Wilson has been contacted by the Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey who assured her that this solution of the roosting platforms is going ahead as a trial and if it does not work it will be amended and re-thought. 

The Minister also mentioned to Chris he will be in touch with all those who reached out regarding this issue in the following weeks. 

For more information on the Environmental Protections of Bribie Island contact BIEPA https://bribieislandenvironmentprotection.org.au/ 

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