An Indian myna bird.
An Indian myna bird. - Supplied

Myna birds a Tweed pest

DESPITE thousands of captures in the past nine months, Indian myna birds remain a major problem in the Tweed and Byron shires.

Indian myna control officer Pamela Gray said the pest birds, not to be confused with noisy mynas or plovers, are a serious threat to biodiversity.

“The Indian myna is a highly intelligent and aggressive bird that competes with our native species for food and nesting sites,” Miss Gray said.

“When Indian mynas colonise an area they dramatically reduce the number of nesting and roosting sites available to hollow-dependant birds and animals.”

Other negative impacts include damaging soft fruit crops such as bananas and papaya, consuming feed intended for domestic pets and livestock, making noise at night in residential areas, and building large untidy nests in roof spaces and cavities, which are a fire risk and an entry point for bird mites into houses.

Mynas, which prefer to live in suburbs and parks, are the predominant bird in urban areas all along the east coast, from Melbourne to Cairns.

But Miss Gray said the Tweed and Byron eradication program, introduced last August, has seen localised improvements.

“There are definitely reductions in mynas in areas where people have set up our traps,” she said.

Miss Gray has more than 100 traps available for people free of charge, and set up in their backyard or on their farm.

“They are amazingly simple to use; you just bait them with dog food,” she said.

“Some people have trapped 200 birds on their property.

“Once captured, the birds can be taken to King Street Vet in Murwillumbah or South Tweed Vet in Blundell Boulevard to be euthanased.”

While trapping is successful, Miss Gray said there are other things people can do to reduce the spread of mynas, including clearing food scraps after eating outdoors, blocking holes in roofs or eaves and planting native shrubs.

Key features of the Indian mynas include a chocolate-brown body with a black head and neck; yellow beak, eye patch, feet and legs; white wing patches; and it walks, not hops.

Contact Miss Gray on (02) 6670-2778 or email indianmyna@tweed.nsw.gov.au



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