Not sure if everyone sighted the following article tucked away in the
Weekend Australian 6-7 Nov. 1999
Quite interesting concept for the disposal of the pest by CO2.
Here at Bowen in North Queensland, we don't have a Myna problem but to the
North in Townsville and the South in Mackay it is a different matter.
Actually I have lived here since 1984 and cannot recall seeing an Indian
Myna south of the Burdekin River or north of Calen. Never ever here at
Bowen, what keeps them away the sunny weather?
Mist nesting helps in a suburban myna miracle.
EXPERTS believe they may have found a way to stop the skyrocketing numbers
of Indian myna birds that pose a threat to biodiversity.
A small-scale trial cull in Sydney recently was successful in killing the
introduced pests quickly and humanely, according to pest control officer at
the Australian Museum, Hank van Leeuwen.
He said the trial, a joint effort between Mosman Council and the museum, may
have solved the puzzle of how to kill the birds in a humane and
The mynas, which drive out native birds and chase animals from their
burrows, have been growing rapidly in number, with flocks up to a thousand
strong nesting in trees.
Indian mynas were introduced to Australia last century to control insect
pests in market gardens.
Mr van Leeuwen said the trial used a similar technique to bird banders -
raising mist-netting after the birds had roosted, then disturbing them so
they would fly into the net.
Pockets in the netting allowed for any non-target animals to be released
before the mynas were killed in seconds with carbon dioxide.
Chris Tidemann, from the forestry department in the school of resource
management and environmental science at the Australian National University,
said Indian myna numbers, unlike that of native mynas, had skyrocketed in
the past 10 to 20 years.
In Canberra, there were five times more than five years ago.
Dr Tidemann said the birds, which posed similar problems in other countries,
tended to live along the east coast in Australia and in woodlands and areas
cleared for farming.
The increased rainfall could have added to their healthy state, providing
good growth conditions for the bugs they eat.
"The numbers are rising quite quickly now because they have got to a
critical mass and also because the nature is changing," he said.
The birds had driven some species almost to extinction on some islands in
the Pacific, he said. In Australia, they killed such animals as the sugar
glider, , small possum, by driving it from its home or pecking at it.
Dr Tidemann has his own answer to the problem but said he needed about
$25,000 to get it operational: a Mr Whippy van-style moveable attraction for
Once the birds had followed the simulated bird calls, broadcast from
amplifiers, to a synthetic tree, a shroud could be dropped on the birds
which would then be gassed.
He said this method was less traumatic for the birds than trapping them in
netting. The joint trial in Mosman ruled out using this method, saying it
would be too expensive.
VIVIENNE REINER Weekend Australian 6-7 November 1999.
PO Box 868
Bowen (Climate Capital of Australia)
Queensland Australia 4805
Phone 07 4786 2614H Mobile 0412 789 285
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