2. Re: News story calling for cull or corellas

To: "'Natalia Atkins'" <>, "'John Tongue'" <>
Subject: 2. Re: News story calling for cull or corellas
From: "Stephen Ambrose" <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 17:17:57 +1100
I've been involved in bird hazard management work at some of the smaller
airports in country NSW over the last few years. Many of the inland airports
have problems with dense concentrations of galahs, corellas and cockatoos.
Others have additional problems with raptors and waterbirds.

There are three main reasons for birds concentrating at these small

1. Airports need large expanses of flat ground. In many cases this means
building them on floodplains. Those airports that have galah/cockatoo
problems are usually located near large colonies that roost and nest in gum
trees along the banks of rivers or large creeks.

Others may also be located near the flight paths of waterbirds because they
are located close to wetlands or flooded paddocks.

2. Extensive lawned areas on either side of runways provide ideal habitat
for birds. Galahs/cockatoos feed on the bulbous roots and seeds of grasses &
herbs, ibis, magpies and corvids feed on ground invertebrates, raptors prey
on galahs/cockatoos, rabbits and other rodents that are attracted to

There have been greater concentrations of birds (especially galahs and
cockatoos) at aerodromes of inland NSW over the last few years, largely as a
result of the drought rather than loss of habitat. Under these conditions,
it's easier for these birds to forage at a concentrated food source rather
than search for scarcer food sources in their natural habitat.

3.  Provision of other suitable habitat for birds, e.g. pooling of water on
either side of the runway (attracting lapwings, herons, egrets, etc) and
garbage/waste areas (attracting Sacred Ibis, corvids and gulls).

I have just quickly outlined some generalities here. Each airport has its
own special set of bird problems and, altogether, there are many more
reasons why birds are attracted to airports in large numbers and thus cause
potentially hazardous situations.


Dr Stephen Ambrose

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Natalia Atkins
Sent: Thursday, 31 January 2008 4:33 PM
To: John Tongue
Subject: 2. Re: News story calling for cull or corellas


I am curious to know if the birds are really existing in plague proportions,
or whether their natural food source has been so depleted that they are
forced to congregate in urban areas to find food? I feel that the
`congregation' of birds can create an illusion of a plague, when the problem
may well be loss of habitat (and that actually sounds more plausible to me

Birds go where food is.and breed proportionally. I think a more humane and
effective approach to populaton control would be to control their food
supply. Maybe the Corella's in question have lost a lot of natural habitat?

Any thoughts?

On Jan 31, 2008 3:22 PM, John Tongue <> wrote:

> I also will 'stick my neck out' (like Greg) - and please don't get me
> wrong, I am all for conservation, and protecting endangered species,
> beach nesting sites, etc.
> It's interesting that many on this list are advocates of Myna
> control, and eradicating Canada Geese before they get established,
> etc. (both of which I support), but are not in favour of culling a
> native population to reduce local numbers to more manageable levels.
> Introduced pest species clearly do not belong in an area, and are
> only there because of human intervention - hence many feeling little
> compunction about control/eradication.  However, as Peter Crow
> rightly pointed on this thread yesterday, the only reason these
> Corellas (and many other native species which achieve 'pest' status)
> have done so is also because of human intervention.  For the sake of
> consistency (if nothing else), surely there can be a morally
> defensible case mounted for population control, through humane
> methods, to keep such 'pest' species at levels more akin to what they
> would have been without the 'positive' human interference which led
> to what is clearly sometimes a population explosion???
> I'll be interested to see whether I've stuck my neck out far enough
> for someone to want to chop it off!
> John Tongue
> Ulverstone, Tas.

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