Common Mynas

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Subject: Common Mynas
From: "a and h wright" <>
Date: Thu, 27 Apr 2000 15:05:28 +1000
For some time now I have been pre-occupied with Common Mynas and the spread
of these dreadful birds.  I can recall being surprised when I saw them
around Camden not too many years ago but now they are at Berrima and Sutton
Forest.  I am not sure about Goulburn as we do use the by-pass.  however,
they are spreading further and further throughout the rural areas.

Following are some observations I wrote a few years ago but never submitted
for publication.  For those not familiar with Canberra, we live on the
south-western edge of the city and our out-look includes a golf course where
we spend a lot of time, and across the road is a rural property.

"My husband and I moved into our house on Gleneagles Estate, just off Kambah
Pool Road, on the 2 July 1992 and it was not until 27 October that we saw
Common Mynas in the area.

We had left suburban Weston were mynas were in plague proportions mainly
because a well-meaning neighbour fed them and otherwise encouraged them into
the suburb.  We revelled in the quiet of  Kambah and  enthusiastically
planted a native garden and supplied water and several roosts to encourage
more birds into the area.

During the first few years all went well.  Magpies, Magpie-larks, Galahs and
Rosellas nested in the trees nearby.  Sulphur-crested Cockatoos had the
property rights to a large old eucalypt further up the road.  Many water
birds were seen around the dams on the golf course, Crested Pigeons were
increasing in numbers and many smaller "bush" birds were common.  Our main
concerns were the domestic (not feral) cats which must have been responsible
for the dead birds we found in the garden from time to time.  But our bird
counts increased; about 120 species in the 'grid' and more than 100 on the
golf course.

Sadly, the whole story of bird-life in the area has changed.  Mynas are,
undoubtedly, the predominant species now.  Their shrill cries can be heard
from first light until well after sun-set.  They move around in flocks of
10, 12 or more and are blatantly aggressive towards other species.

To those people who believe that Mynas only effect the birds who use the
same size nest holes, let me assure you that is not so.  Mynas are not
satisfied with one hollow or one branch of a tree, they want the whole tree
and possibly the one next to it.  Nor is it true that Mynas only inhabit
urban areas.  Each spring time the Mynas push further into the rural areas
and now inhabit almost every tree along Kambah Pool Road.

I have seen Mynas attacking a Masked Lapwing until the Lapwing flew off,
Sulphur-crested Cockatoos being driven away from a nesting hollow and chased
across the fairway, Magpies and Magpie-larks being harassed by these
dreadful birds, and my most recent observation was of Mynas attacking
several Pied Currawongs.

Many of the smaller species once common around here such as Willy Wagtails,
Restless Flycatchers, Grey Fantails, Rufous Whistlers, Red-browed and
Double-barred Finches are rarely seen now.

I believe Mynas are now the dominant species in suburban Canberra and as
their numbers increase they will push further into the rural areas each
breeding season.  Eventually, of course, Canberra will loose its reputation
as a top birdwatching area and we will then be poorer economically and, more
importantly, ecologically."

Hazel Wright

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