Myna birds a major problem in Kiama

A region-wide approach will be sought to help address a ‘‘very visible pest’’ - myna birds - throughout the Kiama municipality.

At last week’s council meeting, a report was tabled in response to an approach from the Kiama Men’s Shed requesting council’s support and allocation of resources for a community driven initiative to control Indian myna birds in the Kiama LGA. 

The report recommended that if council was to allocate resources to the project, a model similar to Wollongong City Council should be adopted. 

Wollongong City Council’s Indian myna action program has been in operation since 2011.

Previously Kiama Council was involved with the Jamberoo myna bird control program, established in 2006. 

A survey of bird abundance associated with this program found the main populations of birds around the Jamberoo township and nearby rural housing clusters.

‘‘This survey only covered the Jamberoo area so abundance figures for myna birds in other townships in Kiama LGA are unknown,’’ council’s report said. 

‘‘These figures are also outdated and abundance is likely to be higher.’’

Council’s report said myna birds were not a declared pest species and as such there was no legislative obligation to control them.

‘‘However, they are a very visible pest and create a number of issues in the urban environment, giving them a high ‘pest’ rating amongst the community.’’

According to council’s report, the basis of the Wollongong program centres around the men’s shed producing traps, which are sold to members of the public to be used on private property. Members of the public are not allowed to purchase a trap from the men’s shed until they attend a council workshop. 

Wollongong City Council provides support to euthanize the birds using CO2 gas. Trappers who do not wish to humanely euthanize the trapped birds themselves are given the option to book in a time with council staff at the depot, where they can drop the birds for euthanizing.

Kiama Council staff had recommended that they adopt a model which entailed council providing workshops to the public, education materials and euthanasia services. 

The Men’s Shed would make and sell the traps.

However, council moved to endorse the principle, but not take part in the proposal. 

‘‘We don’t have any budget for this,’’ deputy mayor Neil Reilly said.

‘‘We’ve got limited space, limited resources… I just don’t think that it’s council’s role to come along and euthanase these birds. 

‘‘We don’t have the resources, the training, or the space to do it.”

Cr Mark Honey said he supported the idea of trapping myna birds and destroying them, but didn’t think it was council’s core business. 

‘‘I think if the men’s shed wants to become involved in making traps and trapping myna birds, that one of them be trained up to dispose of the birds,’’ he said. 

Councillor Warren Steel believed it was ‘‘part of our responsibility to get rid of these things, they’re a menace’’.

‘‘I can understand the staff not wanting to do it, but I think the publicity that we’ll get about tonight’s discussion, that someone will come forward and be prepared to kill these birds humanely,’’ he said. 

Council will also look at a regional structure to address the issue, and seek state or federal funding.

‘‘We’ll take it to Southern Councils Group perhaps and see what they think of the idea of looking at some sort of regional approach,’’ Mayor Brian Petschler said. 


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