The Indian Myna bird, while unassuming to look at, is territorial and highly aggressive.By Fiona Blick
The catastrophic damage caused by cane toads, rabbits and foxes has been well documented but have you heard of the Indian Myna bird.
This bird, while unassuming to look at, is territorial and highly aggressive. They compete with and displace native wildlife for habitat areas, taking over tree hollows and nest sites, forcing possums and birds out and eject, and occasionally even eat, nestlings and eggs right from their nests. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has ranked the Myna amongst the world’s 100 most invasive pest species and it has just been voted Australia’s worst pest ahead of the cane toad, rabbit, fox, feral cat and pig.
And they have moved into the local area.
They could be in your backyard as you are reading this article, launching their very own coup d’etat on the resident native birds – but help is at hand. The Yarrawonga Mulwala Men’s Shed (YMMS), in cooperation with the Broken Catchment Landcare Network, is on a mission to eradicate Indian Mynas from north east Victoria. John Shorten, Project Coordinator for the YMMS, said the group has received funding to build an initial 24 Myna traps from the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and they have also approached the Moira Shire Council and Shepparton City Council to hold information and community awareness programs in each area.
“As well as supplying the traps there will also be a kit which includes a handbook on Indian Mynas, trapping tips, gloves, disposal instructions and a recording sheet for the number of birds caught,” Mr Shorten said.
The Indian Myna, identified by its yellow beak and eye patch, brown body and black head was first introduced into Melbourne in the 1860s to control insect pests at the market gardens and their population is spreading rapidly.
Mr Shorten said even though the birds are a feral species they must be disposed of humanely.
“The traps we have built all have provisions for food and water trays and do not harm the birds in any way,” he said. “We have been closely working with Wildlife Rescue to make sure everything is made in a humane fashion. There has been a lot of demand for these traps, we even have a waiting list.”
He said it was important to distinguish the pest Indian Myna from the Common Noisy Miner (note the spelling difference). Noisy Miners are native birds that are predominantly grey and are a protected species so must be released if trapped.
For more information on the Indian Myna or to order a trap from the Yarrawonga Mulwala Men’s Shed please phone John Shorten on 57441840.
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