They are the bird scourge of urban Australia, but a successful Wollongong City Council program is teaching locals how to fight back against Indian myna birds.
A long-running series of workshops instructs residents how to humanely trap and euthanise the pest species, which spread viruses through droppings, prey on other birds and animals, and nest in house roofs.
"We believe it is the most integrated program of its kind in the state," said the council's natural areas co-ordinator, Paul Formosa.
"It's not a vendetta against myna birds, but a means to help residents who have a problem, and making sure they comply with humane trapping."
The monthly workshops, to run this weekend at Bellambi, teach people laws around catching and killing the birds, and give instruction on setting "Pee Gee" wire bird traps. After catching a bird, usually lured in by dog or cat food, the program teaches residents to kill the bird through carbon monoxide or dioxide poisoning, breaking its neck, or taking it to a vet or the RSPCA for a lethal injection.
"We demonstrate a way of breaking necks that is very quick. Some people don't like it, but it is a humane way of killing them," Mr Formosa said.
"But it is easier said than done, and if people don't want to do it, we encourage them to bring the birds to us and we will do it for them."
Mr Formosa said residents must complete the workshop to be allowed to buy a trap, built by the Corrimal Men's Shed. He said Gwynneville, Keiraville and West Dapto were known hot spots for myna birds, but the species was widespread across the Illawarra and Australia.
"They like open spaces in backyards, so we encourage people to plant native trees," Mr Formosa said.
"We also say not to feed native birds because that attracts more birds, and to not leave pet food out in the backyard."
Anyone interested in the workshops can call the council on 4227 7111.