Thanks for that. I am a little
surprised at the minimal response that has come through so far on this issue. Whilst
one person using dead birds is not such a big deal, we need to guard against
promotion of this activity into an industry. I watched the program again with
better attention on Sunday afternoon. The lady reported on comes across as very
happy to be doing this, “giving dead birds a new lease of life” or
words to that effect. I might have been wrong about Kookaburra included (it was
very quick) but there were many other native species. I could also have added
that there were the obvious usual feathers of peafowl, chicken and quite
possibly other domestic birds, maybe in equal quantity to natives, but it is
hard to tell for sure. And many had been died (not the meaning of dead), which
can complicate identification. The clear emphasis of the Landline program was
that these are mainly native birds, and although Guineafowl was specifically
mentioned, it was not stated that these are domestic, only that they are “annoying”.
From: Birding-Aus [ On
Behalf Of Anthea Fleming
Sent: Tuesday, 30 October, 2018 1:48 PM
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Landline program about use of native birds to
A long time ago, in the post-WW II
era, a popular womens magazine carried coloured photos of ladies' hats with
Australian bird feathers as decorations, and, on the cover, most of a Crimson
Rosella on a beret. Australia's best-known conservationist at the time, P
Crosbie Morrison, condemned this in his very popular Sunday evening radio
programme, and in his excellent monthly magazine "Wild Life". He also
reprinted Mattingley's famous photos of the havoc wrought by plume hunters in
the Murray egret rookeries, originally published in 'The Emu' circa 1904.
There were also protests from the RAOU, the BOC and other bodies. Public
feeling ran very high and the use of native bird feathers was forbidden in all
states. Milliners were restricted to domestic and aviary species, such as
pheasants, chickens, ducks and guineafowl.
During the late 1990s on a visit to WA, near Geraldton, a
honeyeater collided with our car and was killed. Its body was caught on the
radiator-screen. I handed it in at theGeraldtonwildlife authority's
visitors' centre. I was told that they were grateful and would have it
mounted to improve their display of native birds, but that I was technically
guilty of being in possession of native wildlife, for which there were large fines.
Perhaps WA authorities should remember this regulation.
On 29/10/2018 11:44 AM, Philip Veerman wrote:
Yesterday I happened to see this item on ABC Landline https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-28/outback-milliner:-the-international-success-of-a/10439282
somewhat supportive or praising of this lady who is making a business of making
hats, using feathers of native (and some domestic) birds. She is in Broome WA.
It is presented as a hard luck story of a lady who has made good of herself.
This is seriously concerning. It was the awful trade in, particularly Egret
breeding plumage, decades ago, that lead to mass slaughter of these birds at
their breeding colonies. Now we have this promotion of using feathers of many
species in hats again. As I watched it I could identify most of the birds
species used, (I consider myself particularly adept in identifying feathers)
but will decline to type out a list here as a first approach. Some are
mentioned by the narration (correctly or not). For example it refers to a
“road killed owl” when the feathers shown at that point are clearly
no owl, they are from a Pheasant Coucal, there is Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo,
Brown Goshawk, Kookaburra, Bustard and many other species included, though the
bulk appear to be Guineafowl and various raptors and parrots. It is hinted at
that the birds are mostly road kill or just sent in by whoever to this lady to
make into hats. What is clearly concerning is that provenance is in most cases
unknown and unprovable. Especially if this becomes a commercial enterprise
– I guess it already is. It is my understanding that whilst state laws
may differ, in general it is illegal to possess without a permit, any feathers
of native birds and certainly to trade in them. What is worse is if this starts
off a bigger trend. We need to take action against that possibility. It sure is
easy to kill birds to collect feathers if there is money in it and claim it to
be road kill. I am disturbed that Landline presented this program without
having instead advised this lady that what she is doing is almost certainly illegal.
And I reckon most of us would find it highly unethical, if not just grotesque.
Maybe readers would like to take up this issue with Landline. I wonder whether
anyone has contact with the wildlife authorities in Western Australia to take
up this case.
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