Bad Birds & Land Clearing

Subject: Bad Birds & Land Clearing
From: Russell Woodford <>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 00:34:06 +1100
Jeffrey Amess wrote (or was he just trying to stir us up?):

There is no doubt that ALL invasive species will affect the endemic
population in one way or another and thus introduce some healthy competition
for environmental space, the subject Common Myna tends not to invade the
rural areas as they like to stay close to large human populations, so if
they are in your area, twitch them and study them, they have some great
behaviour, just live with them as they are here to stay.

Must say I concur with Lawrie Conole on this one. It's only necessary to look at birds like Blackbird and Bassian Thrush to see how the feral newcomer can push a native species right out of an area. Geelong once had Bassian Thrushes around the suburbs in winter - by 1914 these had become irregular, and now they are absent from areas like the You Yangs which have well-established Blackbird populations (see Pescott (1983) 'Birds of Geelong' for more details). COmmon Mynas compete with a range of native birds that use tree hollows for nests, including Owlet-nightjar and many parrot species. Perhaps somebody on this list can cite studies which show something of the impact of Common Myna expansion on native species.

Jeffrey's comments sound remarkably similar to those made recently by John Cobb, in an interview for last Sunday's Background Briefing (on Radio National). Cobb said that biodiversity included all the 'new' species in an area, and that it was often better to introduce new plant species to replace the old ones cleared for agricultural purposes. He basically feels that introduced species of plants and animals are just as good to have as those they replace. Cobb is president of the NSW Farmers' Association.

He was speaking on "Trees, Water, People and the way we Farm".
A full transcript of the program will be available by Thursday on Radio National's site:

There is also an excellent online forum on this program:

The forum started immediately after the broadcast last Sunday, and continues for several more days. Some birding-aus readers have already a say on this forum - it is certainly worth a visit. MANY issues are raised, and few if any are solved, but it gives us a chance to see how different parts of our community feel about land use, native species and how we should protect them, if at all. Be warned - some of the statements may get your blood boiling! It might also determine who you DON'T buy your next Holden from ...



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