|| CSIRO Media Release |
| Mr Nick Goldie
|| (02) 6276-6478|
|| (0417) 299-586|
|| (02) 6276-6821|
| 'FLYING CANE TOAD' COUNT AS FIRST STEP TO CONTROL|
"Cree-cree-cree": the harsh cry of the common myna,
an aggressive, cheeky bird which was introduced from India to Melbourne
in the mid-1860s. Now, the myna is taking over territory and nesting sites
from native Australian birds and small mammals in Australia's eastern States.
Scientists warn that the myna could become a national problem, comparable
to the cane toad, the rabbit or the European carp, and are preparing a
major survey of myna numbers across Australia.
In 1968, a Canberra resident, reportedly nostalgic for the sounds of
Asia, released twelve common mynas in the suburb of Forrest. In 1990, a
survey showed there were about 1220 mynas in the ACT, ranging from one
to 31 birds per square kilometre. By 1998, numbers had soared to more than
five times the 1990 figure, and no suburb was free of the pest.
The 1990 survey was conducted by 150 members of CSIRO's Double Helix
Science Club, under the supervision of a scientist from CSIRO Wildlife
The new survey will also make use of Double Helix members from around
Australia - the Club today has some twenty thousand members - under the
direction of project leader Dr Chris Tidemann of the Australian National
Mynas are such a pest they've earned the name 'garbage birds' or 'flying
cane toads', says Dr Tidemann.
"They're the common thugs of the bird world. They forcibly evict
native parrots from tree hollows and destroy their eggs and chicks. Like
many introduced species they have a very negative impact on native wildlife."
The new survey will extend the research done in Canberra and document
the spread of mynas around Australia, says Dr Tidemann.
"The information we gather will help us decide if conservation
agencies need to be concerned, whether myna numbers need to be controlled,
or if their nests should be relocated," he said.
National Coordinator of CSIRO's Double Helix Club, Rebecca Scott, says
that the Club's members have a long history of helping Australian scientists
with their research.
"In the last five years, we've done major national surveys on earthworms,
fruit flies, dung beetles and termites" she says. "As well as
providing invaluable data to scientists, we're teaching kids what real
research is all about."
Double Helix invites anyone who would like to join the study to contact
the Club for a survey card, says Rebecca. "It's as simple as filling
it in and returning it to the reply paid address."
More information from:
- Rebecca Scott, Coordinator of CSIRO's Double Helix Science Club
on (02) 6276 6639 work ph, (02) 6248 6868 home ph, fax (02) 6276 6641
Simon Torok, Editor of The Helix magazine on (02) 6276 6472 work ph, (02)
6282 5269, fax (02) 6276 6641
for more information.
Media Releases: [All]
New] [Help] [Newsline] [CSIRO
Updated 1 April 1998 -
©Copyright 1998, CSIRO Australia
Use of this web site and information available from it is subject to our
Legal Notice and Disclaimer