30 superbs at the mosque

To: Peter Ormay <>,
Subject: 30 superbs at the mosque
From: Daryl King <>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2014 19:13:12 +1000

The last time I checked (a couple of years back), Fraser already had the 17th highest density of traps in Canberra (out of 91 suburbs with registered traps). At 5.6 trap-sites per km2, Fraser's trap density was then already well above the average density of 3.7 traps per km2. For comparison, trap density in Fraser was then about the same as in Aranda, and was higher than in Chapman (5.4), Melba (4.8), and Kambah (4.7).

The problem that we want to address here is the mynas' monopolising of nest cavities. There would seem to be little point in increasing the use of a method that targets only the mynas' foraging behaviour - especially in circumstances where an increasing number of mynas are able to avoid or defeat our foraging traps - while doing nothing about its nesting behaviour.

Mynas do not continue to nest in places where their nests are regularly disturbed. We know that because we can stop them nesting in our roofs and nestboxes by removing their nests. If we put our minds to it, and recruit some people with the necessary skills and training, I'm sure we could develop a system for strategic removal of myna nests in priority areas. Mynas are excellent judges of risk, and would quickly get the message. In any event, their bulky nests would have to be removed before Superb Parrots (or any other parrots) would use the affected cavities.


On 3/08/2014 6:25 PM, Peter Ormay wrote:
Do any COG members live in the areas where Superbs have been recorded who
would be willing to operate a myna trap to reduce the competition they pose
to the Superbs?

-----Original Message-----
From: Daryl King 
Sent: Saturday, 2 August 2014 7:08 PM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] 30 superbs at the mosque

Some good news:  Despite successive waves of irresponsible clearing,
northern Belconnen (including the area covered by Fraser) still contains
quite a few hollow-bearing remnant eucs - mostly in a band above the 600
metre contour (see attached (incomplete) map).  Superb Parrots have
inspected hollows throughout the area in each of the past three breeding

Some bad news:  1/3 to 2/3 of hollow trees in northern Belconnen are
occupied by Common Mynas each year.  In those circumstances, it is highly
unlikely that Superb Parrots will re-establish a breeding population there.


On 2/08/2014 1:20 PM, Mark Clayton wrote:
In the late 1960's, early 1970's Superb Parrots were a common species
in the area that is now covered by the suburb of Fraser. I used to
know people who owned a property there and Superb Parrots commonly
bred in some huge old Yellow Box trees. There was also what was
probably Canberra's last colony of Grey-crowned Babblers present on
site. The parrots then appeared to die out for quite a while and it is
only in the last decade that they appear to have made a comeback to
the northern part of the ACT. How long they will stay remains to be
seen as they do tend to follow food resources around. The breaking of
the drought has probably had quite a bit to do with the birds return.
On the other hand the ACT Government has done nothing to help them

by clearing large areas of suitable habitat for housing. From memory,
someone once said that of the 95 mature Yellow Box and Red Gums in the

suburb of Crace, 80 were removed for housing. Several years ago I
travelled along the road that borders Mulligan's Flat NR and was
horrified to see that every tree up to the reserves' boundary had been
flattened. As I pointed out to Chris Davey at the time he was doing
surveys to record breeding sites for the parrots, it is a totally
useless exercise to find nests if all their food trees are being
knocked over. This is what is happening with Regent Parrots along the
Murray River. They breed in the River Red Gums and feed in the mallee
which is still being cleared for agriculture. They are having to move
further and further to find feeding sites.
I will be interested to see what happens with the Superb Parrots as
Canberra continues to move into critical habitat in the newer
Gungahlin suburbs. The ACT Government plans for so-called "offsets" is
a farce and so is their so-called "solar orientation "policy which is
one of the reasons the trees

in Crace were removed. All the old Eucalypts near the Gungahlin Town
centre will be dead within the next 50 years and nothing appears to
have been done to start potentially replacing them. As soon a building
goes up near them they will be removed as potential hazards.

The older I get the more cynical I become about governments and their
"environmental" policies. I don't think any of them really have a clue!


-----Original Message-----
From: John Harris 
Sent: Saturday, 2 August 2014 12:18 PM
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] 30 superbs at the mosque

It¹s gratifying to see the Superbs becoming more visible in Gungahlin.
They have been nesting here in Mulligans Flat for years but were rare
in Gungahlin suburbia until the last couple of years and now quite
large flocks this year. They visit Percival Hill now in numbers and I
put it down to the maturing of the trees planted by landcare folk in
the late 1990s which are

now virtually a mature woodland environment.

On 2/08/2014 11:57 am, "Peter Ormay" <> wrote:

Hello Chris

Yesterday 1-8-14 I watched about a maximum of 30 Superbs near the 3
large Yellow Box trees E mell. at the South end of Kate Crace St from
9.20am to 10.30am feeding on the ground mainly in native dominated
vegetation in strong cold west wind. I could not see what they were
feeding on due to the height of the grass.

It included a female-looking bird with yellow flecks on its back.

The numbers fluctuated as flocks of 8 to 15 SPs flew off South and NE
but seemed to return. They seemed skittish while on the ground,
possibly due to the strong wind, flying up into the adjacent Yellow
Boxes at any disturbance such as a Wood Duck nesting in the Eastern
Yellow Box flying over them but they soon came down again.

They were feeding mainly between the northern fence (with plain
wires) and the inner (with 2 barbed and 3 smooth wires) fence. They
also fed south of the inner fence but all within 20m of the Yellow

Peter Ormay

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill & Raelene 
Sent: Sunday, 20 July 2014 12:22 PM
Subject: [canberrabirds] 30 superbs at the mosque

Gungahlin Town Centre survey with Angela Plant today. 30 Superbs
0910-0930 in large eucs beside mosque site , sth end Kate Crace  St.
Feeding on the ground, noisy, hanging about, roosting site? Low
morning sun gives them a startling, flouro green glow. Total 21 species.
Bill Graham


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