Cockatoos still under threat – another cull requested!

Last week I received the distressing news that city cockatoos are once again in the sites of shooters wanting to remove them for human convenience, with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) considering issuing yet another culling licence (for background on the issue see my previous post from August last year)

cockatoo pine cone

On the hit list this time is a flock of eight sulphur crested cockatoos in Potts Point who are, as usual, being accused of damaging buildings.  While the NPWS officers I’ve spoken to don’t seem keen to issue the licence the law isn’t as stringent as it could be in requiring alternative solutions be found.

As such there has been a  complete overlooking of one of the most effective methods of preventing bird damage – shock track.  Shock track is strips of tape that carry non-lethal electric shocks to birds that land where they aren’t wanted.  It is commercially available and the City has already put such technology to great use repelling birds from areas where excessive amounts of droppings were causing a problem.  The strips can be set up to run on solar power, meaning that their environmental and economic cost is minimal.

I’ve written to the local NPWS officers urging them to trial solutions such as this before granting a culling licence and will be doing all I can to hold the government to account should they choose to sacrifice our native wildlife instead.

As a side note – the only reason I was informed of this is because Council moved a motion I presented last year specifically asking NPWS to let them know about such things after the last cockatoo cull.  It’s worrying to think how many of these culls may have been approved in other areas without anyone having known.

Image by Oystercatcher, use authorised under creative commons.

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2 responses to “Cockatoos still under threat – another cull requested!

  1. Culling native wild birds in urban areas is absolutely necessary – once they reach the point where the damage they cause becomes a safety issue – for example lighting displays falling on pedestrians outside the DeVere Hotel in Macleay Street.
    It is not unethical either, culling the birds is not an ethical issue – especially when we kill/cull/destroy so much wildlife for consumption or to provide for non-native species.
    Unsafe – Only if done by amatuers
    Inaction will fail to protect property and people.

    Previous culls of sulphur crested cockatoos have worked – but only for a while – the population will re-build if you don’t keep the numbers down.

    Simple internet searches for “humane cockatoo control in urban areas” are useless if you fail to read the detail.
    All of the devices mentioned are either useless or inappropriate to use on heritage buildings:
    Ultrasound devices – need to be used in conjunction with sound effects from speakers as the birds get used to the noise. How many speakers do you want on your heritage building?
    Kites – Have you tried flying a kite in Potts Point!
    Other Visual Deterrents – The birds can’t read! Flapping your knickers out of the window will only put them off while when you’re there.
    Shock Tape – They would pull it off with their beaks in no time and it can only be fitted in continuous strips – most heritage buildings don’t have continuous window frames.
    Bird spikes – The cockatoos lean through them or stand on them to attack the window frames on our building
    Noise Deterrents – It’s already noisy enough in the area and the cockatoos don’t seem to mind. I’m sure you’ll be the first to complain when blanks are fired every 30 seconds – as used in orchards to scare cockatoos away.

    Please pass this comment on to your information on to your friends, families and colleagues – the heritage buildings need your support.

    If these “beautiful wild creatures” were ugly rodents you’d find no problem culling them – I fail to see what looks have to do with it.

    Simple actions have demonstrably failed to prevent the birds from attacking the numerous heritage buildings in the area. So either we cull the birds – or we cover every building in the area in wire mesh. I know which most people would prefer.

    • Thanks for your comment Paul.

      I agree that previous culls have worked for a short time, but therein lies the problem. You can’t “keep the population down” as you suggest without some kind of long term program of repeated culling. Do we really want teams of people out shooting or poisoning cockatoos in the City for months on end? I certainly don’t, and I think most people would find the idea abhorrent. Even if we did, they’d then be the possibility that populations of some other species would increase to fill the niche left by the cockatoos. Unless we want to completely sterilise our cities of all wildlife we need to learn to live with them.

      And this means all wildlife – I think if there was a plan to cull native rodents people would be just as up in arms.

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