2. Re: News story calling for cull or corellas

To: "Natalia Atkins" <>
Subject: 2. Re: News story calling for cull or corellas
From: John Tongue <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 22:38:22 +1000
Hi Natalia, et. al.
I didn't see the ABC show in question, so can't claim to speak to the specifics of that case - I'm not sure whether the Corellas built up in numbers there because of habitat destruction nearby, or some other reason. What I was commenting upon was that, for whatever reason, they had built up in numbers there (presumably because of some form of human intervention), over and above what they would normally have been without that human intervention. Also, that if we are happy to countenance eradication of introduced species, then surely we should be ready to at least consider culling in some areas to reduce numbers back to what they might otherwise have been.

If the problem in Mt Gambier is that playing fields, etc. provide an additional food supply, and attractive habitat to the birds, then I suspect supplying 'decoy food' elsewhere (aka. Carl Clifford's suggestion) is more likely simply to transfer the problem to another place (did people see the show on the Scrub Turkeys, where one gardener thought he'd plant twice as much - some for the birds, and some for him? The birds got the lot!).

Here in Ulverstone, NW Tas. We are beginning to have a problem with Galahs. There have been small numbers of Galahs in various parts of Tasmania for many years (there is some debate about whether they were ever truly native to Tassie, self-introduced, or human assisted). However, here in Ulverstone, there is one noted resident who feeds these birds every day with a trail of commercial bird seed laid along the river park. Numbers in surrounding areas don't seem to have changed much - up or down - but here in town, we now have large (and growing) numbers. People have tried to convince him to stop feeding the birds, but he sees it as his right to continue. Other residents are beginning to complain about damage the increased numbers of Galahs do to their gardens, trees, and council and electricity supplier's infrastructure (not to mention the lights on our church bell tower). This man does not want to stop feeding the birds. To lay 'decoy feed' elsewhere will just repeat the problem. There may be other, "more humane" methods, but eventually, 'the authorities' may have to consider a humane cull to keep numbers in check.

We also have growing numbers of Rainbow Lorikeets, which are definitely not native to Tasmania, but let's not get started on that topic.

John Tongue
Ulverstone, Tas.

On 31/01/2008, at 3:32 PM, Natalia Atkins wrote:


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 too).

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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