‘Pesky little birds’: corella culls planned in Western Australia


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “‘Pesky little birds’: corella culls planned in Western Australia” was written by Calla Wahlquist, for theguardian.com on Monday 15th January 2018 06.00 Asia/Kolkata

Regional councils in Western Australia are using fireworks, lethal gas, nets, and mass shooting to reduce the number of corellas, which are reportedly damaging buildings and destroying infrastructure.

The culprits are primarily eastern long-billed corellas, Cacatua tenuirostris, which were introduced to WA as a popular aviary bird.

Aviary escapees bred to create large wild flocks, which pose a threat to endemic birds such as the three WA subspecies of corella and local black cockatoos by competing for food and nesting spots.

Regional towns in mid- and south-west WA receive an increasing number of complaints about the birds each year, which the ABC reports have stripped rubber sealing from windows and damaged copper wiring.

Geraldton’s mayor, Shane van Styn, said the birds “don’t just eat, they destroy”.

He put the annual damage bill at $400,000, and told the ABC attempts to scare the birds away had not worked.

“We’re going to kill a few of these pesky little birds, and hopefully that sends a clear message to them to rack off,” Van Styn said. “They will be netted after being lured to the ground using wheat or any other nice snacks that they might like to consume, at which point they’ll be rounded up and taken to a place to be humanely gassed.”

The plan in Bunbury is similar: scatter grain, cast a net and shoot them at point-blank range with a rifle.

An earlier attempt to use fireworks to scare the birds away was not successful because the flocks reconvened nearby.

Busselton, 5okm south of Bunbury, warned residents it planned to use an artificial noisemaker that made “a loud whistle similar to a small fireworks rocket” to frighten the birds.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions guidelines say culling corellas is an option of last resort, but that trapping and shooting quickly with a low-powered rifle was the most humane option. It issued permits for the culling of 2,000 birds last year.

“Frightened corellas will injure themselves and other birds, so they must be euthanased as quickly and humanely as possible after trapping,” it said.

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'Pesky little birds': corella culls planned in Western Australia | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).