Articles

Feral Birds

Fighting ferals

Have you ever put out food to attract beautiful birds to your back yard only to have it “stolen” by feral birds? It’s a frustrating experience but don’t let it distract you from the unique pleasure of bird watching.

As you know there are many wonderful species of native birds in Australia, but there are a number that have introduced themselves by flying in from other countries and some that have been introduced by people and these are known as feral birds. 

The problem with these birds is that they tend to move in or breed en masse. These prolific numbers can be a threat to our native bird species as they literally take over their habitat and forcing them into unfamiliar (and sometimes unsafe) territory.

Common pests

Perhaps the worst of these feral birds is the common Indian Myna (not to be confused with the Noisy Miner which is an Australian native bird), Starlings, Blackbirds and Rock Pigeons (homing or racing pigeons) that now inhabit most States and Territories.

The Indian Myna is a particular threat to small and medium birds that nest in hollows and can be very aggressive and single-minded in taking over another bird’s territory. In any sort of numbers they will soon decimate the native species they have chosen to “kick out”.

Rock Doves or Feral Pigeons tend to dominate native pigeons and they soon take over food sources and drive the native birds away while Starlings and Blackbirds also have a nasty habit of driving away native birds and can now be found in most parts of the country.

What to do?

If you are experiencing problems with feral birds the best advice is to contact your local wildlife ranger. Eradicating these birds can be a complex and sometimes dangerous practice and, in most cases, requires some professional advice.

In extreme cases, a course of baiting may be required which must be done under strict guidance from a professional pest controller after obtaining the correct approvals from your local council. Generally, baiting is not recommended as there is no sure fire way of protecting native birds from the poison.