Ibis that roamed garbage piles were called “dump ducks” or “tip turkeys”.

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Bris­bane for the birds

Leisa Scott’s ar­ti­cle “Ur­ban jun­gle” (April 11-12) was a won­der­ful read. I was in­ter­ested in the ar­ti­cle say­ing “prior to the ’90s there were no ibis in Bris­bane”. There were plenty of them around Sandgate [north­ern bay­side] more than 110 years ago. My fa­ther, born and raised in Sandgate, told me about its old acronymi­cal motto, “I be­lieve in Sandgate”, from “IBIS”. This was used by Ibis choral so­ci­eties, Ibis bus ser­vices, Ibis butch­ers’ shops, Ibis sport­ing teams, etc. I won­der if Sandgate proudly has a motto to­day? I can’t find one any­where. John Ri­dler, Camp Hill For the past two years we have had two tawny frog­mouths set up a nest in the same branches of a nearby jacaranda tree. In 2013, sadly the nest was dam­aged but in 2014 it was oc­cu­pied from Septem­ber un­til Novem­ber. They had two ba­bies and on very hot days you could see them peep­ing out. How­ever on Thurs­day morn­ing, Novem­ber 27, they were all gone. As that was the day of the se­vere wind and hail­storm that hit Bris­bane, per­haps birds do have a sixth sense on im­pend­ing trou­ble and left for a safer area. Bev Adams, The Gap As much as I en­joyed the ac­counts of the be­hav­iour of our an­i­mal co­hab­i­tants, I must amend ecol­o­gist Dar­ryl Jones’s his­tory of the ur­ban ibis. They moved to the in­ner city when the open land­fill rub­bish fa­cil­i­ties were closed and re­placed by trans­fer sta­tions. For years they had roamed the garbage piles and were re­ferred to as “dump ducks” or “tip turkeys”. Broughton Wool­ford, Ca­rina Heights I en­joyed “Ur­ban jun­gle” and would like to con­trib­ute a few more brash ur­ban wildlife icons: wood ducks, coots, wa­ter dragons, plovers, and (of course) the myr­iad par­rots, doves and smaller birds in our back yards. Golf cour­ses, rivers and gar­den lawns are mag­nets for our won­der­ful an­i­mals and birds, which soon learn to co-ex­ist with hu­mans. Those fas­ci­nat­ing stone curlews are win­ners, and I re­mem­ber see­ing them in fair num­bers when we lived on Ma­cleay Is­land, which is a stunning bird sanc­tu­ary. But I think sci­en­tist Ken Gem­mell errs in blam­ing crows for the loss of curlew chicks – in my ex­pe­ri­ence, cats (both feral and do­mes­tic) and foxes are far more deadly preda­tors: they hunt at night, when their vic­tims are help­less. Cedric Wright, Mt War­ren Clearly, Dar­ryl Jones has not had to suf­fer the night­mar­ish brush turkey ex­pe­ri­ence him­self. Oth­er­wise he would not be so flip­pant in de­scrib­ing other peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences of th­ese birds in sub­ur­bia. I have tried dis­man­tling the mound and fenc­ing off the area with wire mesh but still the turkey re­turns, re­con­struct­ing the mound with the mesh through the cen­tre. Th­ese birds be­come so ob­sessed with one spot they will drag in leaf lit­ter 50 me­tres across roads and down con­crete drive­ways, bring­ing in all sorts of rub­bish in­clud­ing rusty nails, which ul­ti­mately gave me a flat tyre the next time I drove across the turkey’s route. Robert Rankin, Chapel Hill

The cur­ric­u­lar curse

Re Mary-Rose MacColl’s col­umn (Up­front, Apr 11-12): I feel like I have read far too many ar­ti­cles of late that high­light flaws in our ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, and in many cases re­ally great teach­ers find their hands are tied be­cause of what the cur­ricu­lum re­quires them to teach, leav­ing no time for the cre­ative nur­tur­ing of young minds. Chil­dren need to learn how to fill their world with pas­sion and cre­ativ­ity and use all the colours to cre­ate the can­vas that is their life. Where would we be with­out the imag­i­na­tions of those who have gone be­fore us? Marie Gor­don, Toowoomba

Style: a life­time in­vest­ment

“Hold­ing back the years” (Apr 11-12) sug­gests it’s the thin, fa­mous, and those who’ve al­ready spent a for­tune on their looks who get the ac­co­lades as “older women”. Ms Av­er­age 50+ is still usu­ally as in­vis­i­ble as ever. For Ms Av­er­age, cloth­ing stores at the eco­nom­i­cal end of the mar­ket don’t do “looks” that can “be­come ours”. In fact, it’s of­ten dif­fi­cult to find any­thing even flat­ter­ing, so when Givenchy chooses Ju­lia Roberts as its rep­re­sen­ta­tive, it re­ally doesn’t af­fect them at all. There are ob­vi­ously many won­der­ful “older women” do­ing ex­tra­or­di­nary things both in and out of the work­force, but un­less they were rich and fa­mous first, and look much younger than their years, we’ll never know who they are, or what they’ve achieved. Anne Sum­mers, Townsville

Mace­do­nian makeover

I was in­ter­ested in Mike Colman’s re­port from Skopje in the FYRM, or Mace­do­nia (Post­card from Lon­don, Up­front, Apr 11-12). In 1974, I trav­elled from Am­s­ter­dam to Istanbul with 20 like-minded oth­ers. One af­ter­noon we stopped in Skopje, park­ing our Ford Tran­sit just off the city cen­tre. We got out for a walk and peo­ple stopped to glare or stare at us. It was like an­other world. The city had been par­tially de­stroyed in an earth­quake 20 years or so be­fore­hand and re­built in a stark, bru­tal Eastern Euro­pean Stal­in­ist style. It is the ugli­est place I’ve been to. I was re­ally in­ter­ested to hear that the city has been trans­formed. Niall Nu­gent, The Gap

Best in­ten­tions

I love Mike O’Con­nor’s Back­chat. It al­ways brings a smile to my face and is the first ar­ti­cle I read in Qweek­end. There have been times when I think I’ll mow the lawn, then I find hours have passed and it’s all too late. Yep, I sleep in front of the TV. I don’t do the food spills or the stains on cloth­ing. Maybe that’s a male thing (my hus­band does). Toni Evans, Stafford Mike O’Con­nor’s col­umn on pro­cras­ti­na­tion is dis­played on our re­frig­er­a­tor along with a three-page in­struc­tion list for my spouse while I am away. I am priv­i­leged to be at­tend­ing the 100th an­niver­sary com­mem­o­ra­tions of the Great War, re­mem­ber­ing my dad, Matthew Ho­gan, who was 17 when he en­listed and who came home, though his 16-year-old brother, Mick, was killed in ac­tion. I will be gone 15 days, and your ar­ti­cle will be in­struc­tive along with my notes about re­mem­ber­ing med­i­ca­tions, how to use the wash­ing ma­chine, meals in the freezer and re­mem­ber­ing to put the dunny seats down.Yes, Mike, your ar­ti­cle was timely if only to show that you blokes are all the same – you just live in dif­fer­ent houses. Patti Smith, Bris­bane

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