---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gary Wright <>
Date: 14 April 2010 18:17
Subject: Blackbirds in Stanthorpe, QLD / bounty systems
To: Michael Atzeni <>
A bounty system will result in people breeding blackbirds to claim the
bounty. There will be a demand for blackbirds with no effect on supply by
reducing price therefore supply will grow.
On 14 April 2010 08:38, Michael Atzeni <> wrote:
> Thanks Ross and Chris for your comments.
> A few more considerations:
> In the southern states blackbirds are considered to be in the top 10 or so
> of the 60-odd bird species causing damage to horticultural crops. It is
> ranked as a very serious pest of fruit, particularly grapes. Though not a
> problem yet in Queensland, blackbirds are already in districts with
> vineyards e.g. Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt, Highfields (north of
> Toowoomba), and even out at St George! Coincidence? I don't think so.
> Urban blackbirds relatively benign? I'm sure many gardeners will disagree
> e.g. eat and damage their fruit and veges, scratch up mulched areas
> scattering it over pathways, bare-root their roses, etc.
> What about subsequent dispersal of urban birds into horticultural areas?
> The more in suburbia the more pressure on them to disperse and establish new
> territories. Unfortunately, we don't tend to think beyond our own backyards
> where blackbirds are concerned. And fruit-growing areas don't need another
> pest to contend with.
> How far north will blackbirds establish? We don't know, but why wouldn't
> they continue to disperse up the populous east coast, particularly along the
> Great Dividing Range to areas such as the Sunshine Coast hinterland and
> beyond. They are a resilient and adaptable species in Australia.
> As they spread, they will encounter different habitats and new species.
> Who's to say they couldn't become a serious competitor to certain species in
> some landscapes in future?
> Do we really want blackbirds to become a permanent part of the urban
> soundscape? I remember waking up at ANU in Canberra at a conference a few
> years ago and that's all I could hear. I remember thinking this could be
> Toowoomba in a few years. I'm all for keeping the Queensland dawn chorus as
> unadulterated as possible, for as long as possible.
> Whilst southerners are stuck with them, Queenslanders have an opportunity
> to keep the state relatively blackbird-free. Inaction in the past should not
> be our excuse for the future.
> Because of their territorial habits and prominence in the breeding season,
> I do believe a bounty system is strategic and viable at this stage. A
> campaign targeting schools in the infested regions before the summer
> holidays would be a very good starting point, where the kids have time on
> their hands and could earn money simply by pinpointing calling males or
> active nests and sending video/photographic evidence upon which the
> authorities can adjudicate and act e.g. trapping. The bounty would be
> subject to the evidence being confirmed and this is where local birders
> could help the authorities with timely follow up of reports.
> A greater reward could be offered for the first confirmed nest of the
> season in each town/suburb/region to generate media attention to the
> potential problem. Doing this would flush out a lot more records than are
> currently being generated on a voluntary basis. Then we would know where to
> concentrate trapping effort and conduct ongoing monitoring. And each
> breeding season we would be able to gauge the success of the bounty system
> by checking presence/absence in previously reported territories.
> Positive generates positive. If we can show it can be done in Queensland,
> then it could well be the incentive to do it elsewhere. If we can't do it
> for Queensland blackbirds, then what hope for mynas and starlings, even in
> fringe areas?
> Blackbirds will continue to infiltrate into Queensland but there's no good
> reason to give them a saloon passage and tempt fate. Let's get the runs on
> the board, demonstrate we can make a difference, and see what happens from
> Mick Atzeni
> Blackbird Monitoring Project
> Toowoomba Bird Observers