Pest bird no 'myna' problem in St George

May 23, 2018

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Over the past five years, QMDC officers, community volunteers and rangers have led control programs funded by the National Landcare Program in Texas, Miles, Warwick, Yelarbon, Inglewood, Stanthorpe, Millmerran and Toowoomba with the St George region now in the spotlight.

In Australia, Indian mynas are considered a major pest, threatening biodiversity due to their territorial behaviours and nesting competition with native bird species.

The community consultation workshop was the first step in determining the local observations of pest mynas in the St George area before a formal index of abundance is carried out. QMDC’s Aboriginal Ranger team will be working on the project and local volunteers are being encouraged to help manage the trapping of the birds in the area too.

QMDC’s Regional Coordinator for Biodiversity and Pests Holly Hosie said that the success of a pest removal project such as this one works well when there is committed community involvement.

“Indian Mynas are a durable pest bird species and they’re moving further and further west. We’re trying to stay one step ahead of them and we’ve found this works best when local residents are willing to be actively involved,” said Mrs Hosie.

The community workshop saw local twitching expert Sandy Robertson and one of QMDC’s rangers, William Taylor, present information about Indian mynas and their effects on local biodiversity before opening the floor to locals to get their thoughts on populations and trapping information.

“While QMDC provide the technical support, information, advice and trapping materials to remove these pests, volunteer-lead action groups in each town are the key to greater success rates in removal efforts and monitoring the population,” she said.

Inglewood is an example of a town where Indian myna trapping and removal has been extremely successful with a measured reduction in mynas directly resulting in higher numbers of native birds in the area.

An initial count in the Inglewood area before the control period began in 2013 revealed a count of 250 individuals and five (5) roost trees. Towards the end of the trapping period in 2015, pest myna numbers had dropped significantly to a count of 50 individual birds with just one (1) roost tree observed. Most importantly, numbers of hollow-nesting native parrots and cockatoos were observed to have more than doubled in the same time as pest mynas decreased.

Indian Myna Facts
• Indian mynas are aggressive, territorial birds that actively compete with and displace native species.
• They are a declared pest in Queensland, introduced to Australia in 1862 in an unsuccessful attempt to combat insect pests in cane fields.
• Mynas compete with native birds such as boobook owls and many parrot species as well as mammals such as sugar gliders for food and nest hollows.
• Hollows abandoned by mynas are avoided by native species for years.
• Mynas prey on and evict the eggs and young of native (especially hollow-nesting) birds.
• They carry mites and diseases that can affect humans.
• Nesting mynas can block ventilation systems in buildings.
• Mynas feed on and foul horticultural crops, particularly soft fruits.

Residents in the St George area who are interested in promoting healthier native bird populations through the management of Indian mynas are encouraged to contact QMDC’s Holly Hosie using details below on 0428 738 559 or hollyh@qmdc.org.au

Toowoomba Office

127b Campbell Street (corner of Campbell and Bellevue)

PO Box 6243 Toowoomba West QLD 4350

P (07) 4637 6200 F (07) 4632 8062 E info@qmdc.org.au

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