Fwd: Satin Bower Birds

To: Martin Butterfield <>, Mark Clayton <>
Subject: Fwd: Satin Bower Birds
From: Ruth Cully <>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2018 10:32:50 +0000

I cannot believe what I am reading.

I have two apple trees, one plum tree, one peach tree and two Camelias


They can have the lot.



From: Martin Butterfield <>
Sent: Monday, 6 August 2018 7:13 PM
To: Mark Clayton
Cc: COG List
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] Fwd: Satin Bower Birds
It is very interesting to see the different designs people use for vegetable gardens in Mallacoota.  There is one objective to them all: keeping the Bowerbirds out.  

With developing shrubs and trees additional strategies are needed to prevent Superb Lyrebirds from ripping the plants out of the ground as they kick around looking for food.  

As far as I'm aware there is no concern about bird poop there, although folk without stout hats do look  little nervous when a squadron of Pelicans passes overhead

On 6 August 2018 at 18:49, Mark Clayton <> wrote:

This is something of a common complaint in Canberra. When I was working at CSIRO I often received calls from members of the public, several golf courses and even on one occasion from Bruce Stadium. Most of these calls were concerned with how to deal with cockatoos and some parrots attacking fruit and nut trees, or Maned (Wood) Ducks fowling - sorry, a deliberate pun - the grassed greens or playing areas. My usual reply was unless they netted their fruit/nut trees there was nothing they could do short of cutting them down. It was obviously a lot more complicated with ducks. I usually added that all these questions should have been put to the ACT Parks and Conservation Service as the local flora and fauna is ultimately their responsibility.

I am not too sure that all this damage is totally the responsibility of the Satin Bowerbirds as Pied Currawongs (and some parrots as seen recently on the chat line) also have a habit of attacking plants, especially fruiting bodies. The obvious but not very practical answer would be to plant different plant species that are not attractive to the bowerbirds but the lady concerned seems to want to keep what she already has in her garden. Again as i stated above, she should contact ACT Parks to get their response. Ultimately however I think her problem is here to stay.

I agree with Philip about putting out "deterrents" as they generally are a total waste of time. Years ago my former "over the back fence" neighbour planted a lot of fruit trees and complained when I said I had a native garden. He stated that I would bring the birds in to feed on his fruit. When things started to ripen he bought something called "Bird Humming Line" that was supposed to scare the birds away. The local starlings found this was fantastic as a perch while awaiting their turn attacking his fruit!!

Theoretically hosing the birds is probably technically illegal as it could be misconstrued as attacking and harrassing the birds. Years ago when trying to get a permit to do some bird banding in Queensland, I got so frustrated with the form I was filling in, after reading all the instructions, that I rang the Qld NPWS and told them that the wording of the form actually made it illegal to bird watch in Qld!! True story. It had the desired effect and the legislation was changed but still made the permit application almost impossible!

I am sure we would all be interested to see what happens in this lady's garden.


On 6/08/2018 4:44 PM, Anne Fulker wrote:
Good evening all,

This email is self explanatory, this was a random encounter with Caroline in Woolies Erindale yesterday.  She is a bird lover but has been challenged with the ongoing issues she has with the birds and her garden.

Is there anyone who could offer Caroline help.  Not sure if it is OK to contact her directly or whether you can email me and I can forward on any helpful advice.  I do not know this lady, only from a chance conversation whilst out shopping.



From: Caroline Judd <>
Subject: Satin Bower Birds
Date: 6 August 2018 at 10:56:27 am AEST

Good morning Anne,

Thank you for giving me your email address in the hope that you may know somebody who could help me to rid my garden of Satin Bower Birds.

They first appeared in my garden about 10 or so years ago when the fig tree had fruit.  They'd come for a short while and then disappear till the following Summer.  This year they have not departed and have made my garden their own.  There are about 6 females and now the male has started visiting.

These birds are highly destructive and very messy.  For example, eating buds off Camelias, pulling every leaf off all my cyclamen, taking out cactus centres and eating or damaging my Cumquats and anything that takes their fancy.  They leave their droppings all over my back door path area and pollute the water containers which I've now reduced to 2.  About 2 months ago I found part of my pebble path at my BarBQ missing - it's about 10" sq and the pebbles are glued onto  fine mesh. These squares are no longer available so I have a very obvious gap.  I eventually found the mesh with just 1 white pebble still partly attached.  I always thought it was blue they liked.  Have found a few blue bottle caps too.

Any help with a deterrant would be much appreciated.  I've hosed them with the hose jet and hung some holographic scare tape from branches but neither works.  In fact they just attack the knob of the tape trying to pinch it I suppose.

Thank you Anne for your email address and offer of help.  I live in Wanniassa and my phone # is 0419 681 878.

Your sincerely,


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