Posted on 01/11/2016

Photo taken on September 13, 2010

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noisy miner: what's the problem?

noisy miner: what's the problem?
A NATIVE bird species is pushing other small birds out of suburban backyards and parks.

Scientists are calling for a cull of noisy miners, pointing to research that shows the move would benefit other species. But noisy miners are protected and may only be culled with a permit.

UniSA urban ecology Professor Chris Daniels said the "bully birds" had displaced other species that used to be found in Adelaide, such as eastern spinebills, willie wagtails, tree martins, swallows, silvereyes and red-browed finches.

"Noisy miners form gangs and they have tight territories, which they defend very aggressively," he said.

"They'll protect food sources in people's gardens from any other bird, except possibly the red wattle birds."

Prof Daniels is working with local authorities, in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, on possible control measures.

Research in Victoria has demonstrated the benefits of removing noisy miners from patches of woodland on the diversity and abundance of other birdlife. Some remnants supported small birds and remained free of noisy miners for 10 to 15 years.

"It's a little bit like if you can scoop a street gang out of a region," Prof Daniels said.

"If all the other gangs have their own region, they don't necessarily move in."

Zoologist Dr Michael Clarke from La Trobe University said culling was the most humane, practical, cost-effective and time-efficient method of reducing the impact of noisy miners "as translocation simply moves the problem to a new locality and causes the displacement of other birds".

But the State Government is not willing to support culling until more research has been done to understand the ecology of noisy miners and other birds.

In the meantime Prof Daniels suggests residents plant thick, spiky shrubs for little birds to hide in, because the noisy miners prefer eucalypt woodlands and grassy clearings.

Noisy miners are native honeyeaters that also eat insects. They are often confused with the Indian myna, which is an introduced starling of similar size.

Conflict between native noisy miners, introduced sparrows and other birds has inspired a series of Letters to the Editor.

Christine Müllerradloff, Eunice Perkins, Thérèse and 2 other people have particularly liked this photo

In my city the common mynah is considered to be a pest.
2 years ago.
My cats caught one of these in my back yard which the cats are enclosed in. It kept hassling the cat, so the cat got it and made a bit of meal of it. I think the Magpies were ecstatic. They pecked at the remains.
Nice shot.
2 years ago.
Eunice Perkins
Eunice Perkins
We have the Indian Mynas over here.
2 years ago.