Dingo - Fox - Ground Bird Relationship

To: 'Peter Shute' <>, "" <>
Subject: Dingo - Fox - Ground Bird Relationship
From: Experience the Wild <>
Date: Wed, 18 May 2016 01:06:40 +0000
The facts put forward by Kurtis compliment the argument put forward by
Bradley Smith in 'The Dingo Debate' chapter 8 'An ecological view of the
dingo'. That is that the presence of dingoes keeps foxes and cats
(mesopredators) 'on edge' so they are less successful where dingoes exist.
Dingoes occur in much smaller densities than cats and foxes and usually hunt
larger prey. A win for small mammals and even for farmers as they reduce the
number of kangaroos and wallabies. Hence the debate...

Mike Jarvis
Experience the Wild

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Peter Shute
Sent: 18 May, 2016 10:19 AM
To: 'Kurtis Lindsay'; 
Subject: Dingo - Fox - Ground Bird Relationship

Does this mean money being spent on cat eradication might be better spent on
fox eradication? Or is there much more to it than that?

Peter Shute

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Birding-Aus  On
> Behalf Of Kurtis Lindsay
> Sent: Tuesday, 17 May 2016 11:05 PM
> To: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Dingo - Fox - Ground Bird Relationship
> Hi all,
> I have been following this fox - night parrot discussion closely as it
> is something I am very interested in.
> From 2011 I worked as an Ecologist consultant in the Brigalow Belt and
> North- West Highlands of Queensland for a few years.
> During this time I surveyed dozens of large cattle stations from the
> NSW QLD border to north of Mt Isa and east to Ingham.
> Surveys always including the setting of camera traps.
> When I set camera traps I recorded Dingoes and feral cats on every
> property I surveyed. But I never once recorded Foxes.
> Interestingly, on every property, I regularly recorded Bush Stone
> Curlew, Bustard, high abundance of Quail species, and Squatter Pigeon
> (or Spinifex Pigeon in Mt Isa) as well as small macropods like Rufous
> Bettong, Spectacled Hare Wallaby, Northern Nailtail Wallaby, and Northern
Brown Bandicoot.
> Habitat availability was only part of the picture as most sites I
> surveyed were heavily cleared cattle stations with only small, often
degraded remnants.
> There was never the amount of remnant woodland that you find in the
> NSW rangelands.
> Cross the border into NSW where I later worked (still in the Southern
> Brigalow Belt bioregion!) and all of the above native birds and mamals
> I listed that were once in NSW are now functionally extinct (as of
> ~100 years)! The list of once common species now endangered (or
> extinct) in northern and central NSW includes Bustard, Bush Stone
> Curlew, Squatter Pigeon, Rufous Bettong and more. Whats more, I found
> foxes in high abundance on every property I surveyed in this area.
> Why did I get so many "Critical Weight Range Mammals" and "Ground
> Nesting Birds" in QLD and none in NSW?  My only hypothesis is owing to
> the lack of foxes in QLD. Why the lack of foxes? I put it down to the
> serious dingo/wild dog "infestation" or dare I say "benefit" in QLD.
> Studies have shown that dingoes/wild dogs suppress fox abundance where
> fox and dog/dingo co-occur. At present there is a lack of correlative
> studies that show the tripartisan relationship between these two
> predators and their prey items, particularly the predation sensitive
> ground bird and CRW mammal species I listed above.
> All the dingo/dog scats I collected during my time in QLD were sent to
> Barbara Triggs and the contents were overwhelmingly dominated by
> Macropus sp. fur.
> In contrast, foxes are known to eat far more small mammal, bird and
> insect prey.
> Cats are a serious problem, and habitat destruction is obviously the
> most serious issue biodiversity faces in NSW at present, but foxes are
> the main reason why we have lost so many medium sized mammals and
> ground nesting birds from NSW and Victoria.
> Across Northern Sydney in the early 2000s, all of the councils and
> National Parks banded together and conducted the largest ever targeted
> fox baiting program in Sydney. Over the next 10 years, we saw a sudden
> resurgence in "fox prey" species such as the Long-nosed Bandicoot,
> Swamp Wallaby and Brush Turkey (which had been extirpated from Sydney
> for well over 50 years). Foxes became rare. They were successfully
> controlled enough to allow recolonisation and survival of their native
> Fauna species, particularly birds, will always find a way to disperse
> and return to available habitat when the one thing preventing them is
> removed (In this case, foxes).
> If adequate funding was allocated toward an active fox eradication
> program (or more politcally sensititve, if dingoes/wild dogs were
> allowed to live) across central, northern and eastern NSW. We would
> see a rapid increase in many if not all of the species I listed above,
> especially the nomadic ground birds like Bustards, Bush Stone Curlew and
Squatter Pigeon.
> Such birds would soon colonise NSW from north of the border and spread
> south, eventually back to their former distribution.
> If we did the same and controlled foxes across the Western Division of
> NSW we may also see an increase in arid specialists like Grasswrens,
> Night Parrot and the like.
> Likewise, further east we would see a population increase in Ground
> Parrot and Eastern  Bristlebirds.
> Remove foxes from most of New South Wales and we will 1. prevent
> extinctions and 2. experience the luxury of iconic bird species
> returning to their former place in our landscape.
> Regards,
> Kurtis J. Lindsay Bsc (Hons)
> <HR>
> <BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
> <BR> 
> <BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:
> <BR>
> </HR>

<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:

<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU