Back Yard Birds: A few comments

To: Laurie & Leanne Knight <>
Subject: Back Yard Birds: A few comments
From: Kiran Krishna <>
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 09:11:03 +1000 (EST)
On Fri, 19 Oct 2001, Laurie & Leanne Knight wrote:

> THE ``leafy'' trees long associated with Sydney's north shore have left
> its suburbs overrun by avian pests while the west has become the haven
> for small native birds, a study has revealed.

  This depends on how you define west, I suppose. The uni is faring no

>  And the rise of the notorious feral indian mynah bird has reached a
> peak, with figures showing it has now invaded 80 per cent of backyards
> across Sydney.
   There seem to be more Common Mynahs here than I remember in
>  A 12-month study by the Australian Museum and University of Wollongong
> has found that the large lawns and trees of the northern suburbs of
> Sydney are favouring pest birds and large carnivores to the detriment of
> most smaller native species.
>  Another discovery was that the native noisy miner, an aggressive bird
> which eats insects, had become as prolific as its introduced cousin and
> may be just as responsible for the decline of other native birds.
  It is not merely the kinds of trees we plant, but also the fact that
noisy miners (and I suppose, occasionally, Common Mynahs) are frequently
fed, that is responsible for the explosion in common species. The same
unfortunately applies to the feral pigeon (Incidentally, are feral pigeons
known to interbreed with native species? I have noticed a number of
crested pigeons with the neck markings of the feral Blue Rock pigeon,
which, I also note, is much commoner here than in India, where it is
native) It would be great if people who are informed would educate people
about the benefits of not feeding birds at all. Almost universally, it
does more harm than good.

>  ``The indian mynah was the most commonly seen bird. I guess it is
> depressing but the comforting thing was it was not negatively associated
> with the smaller birds.

  Don't they attack nests? I have witnessed atleast one confrontation
between a common myna and a willy wagtail, and I have seen enough common
mynahs to tell them apart from a noisy miner. I think too, that the size
difference between a Noisy Miner and a Common Myna is quite noticeable
(The Noisy Miners are smaller). I have heard tales of Noisy Miners
destroying nests and eggs. Another important bird in terms of nesting is
the House Sparrow. Especially in the North Shore, they are common enough
that they take up a good deal of nesting area in trees. In India, they
frequently nest inside houses, but I have never seen one here doing the
same thing. House Sparrows don't look like they affect anything, but they
do. They have a breeding rate of about 3 or 4 hatched birds a nest, from
what I have seen. 

> ``It seems the large carnivores and miners are doing well. The ones we
> are losing are the small insectivores,'' said Dr Major.
  Feeding and the large reduction in native predators (snakes for
example) have had a major impact. It is interesting to note that I saw a
crushed Red Bellied Black snake and an alarming population of just about
every introduced bird (with the exception of the Bulbul) in Mulgrave on a 
recent visit.

Kiran Krishna
3rd yr physics
(Falkiner High Energy Physics)
University of Sydney
NSW 2006


Home is so sad. It stays as it was left,
Shaped to the comfort of the last to go
As if to win them back. Instead, bereft
Of anyone to please, it withers so,
Having no heart to put aside the theft

And turn again to what it started as,
A joyous shot at how things ought to be,     
Long fallen wide. You can see how it was:     
Look at the pictures and the cutlery.     
The music in the piano stool. That vase.     
     - Home is so sad, Philip Larkin

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