birding-aus Digest, Vol 61, Issue 34

To: "Greg Roberts" <>, "'Andrew Thelander'" <>
Subject: birding-aus Digest, Vol 61, Issue 34
From: "Greg & Val Clancy" <>
Date: Tue, 3 May 2011 19:44:25 +1000
In the Clarence Valley large numbers (hundreds) of Topknot Pigeons arrive in the cooler months to feast on the Camphor Laurel fruits. They may rely on the Camphor Laurels at this time of the year but traditionally there would have been native species to provide the winter food. Liz Huxtable (nee Date) and Harry Recher carried out a study of rainforest pigeons on the NSW North Coast some years back and concluded that Camphor Laurels were essential to the maintenance of pigeon populations, at least in the short term. The Camphor Laurel is now classified as a weed and is being controlled in many parts of the north coast. I support this as the Camphor Laurel invades natural bushland and competes with native trees. We have ring-barked most Camphor Laurels in the Coutts Crossing area and rather than losing our White-headed Pigeons we have not seen a reduction in numbers post Camphor Laurel. It is important to protect the rainforest remnants that still survive on the NSW North Coast and to promote the planting of local provenance rainforest fruiting plants in cleared areas.

Despite the attraction of the Camphor Laurel to Topknot Pigeons they do eat many other (native) species of rainforest fruits and I am confident that they will survive in reasonable numbers post Camphor Laurel. It should be stated that the super-abundance of Camphor Laurels on the NSW North Coast means that they will still be around for a long time yet despite efforts to eradicate them.

Greg Clancy
Ecologist and Birding Guide
Coutts Crossing

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