birding-aus Digest, Vol 61, Issue 34

To: "Greg & Val Clancy" <>
Subject: birding-aus Digest, Vol 61, Issue 34
From: Penny Brockman <>
Date: Tue, 3 May 2011 20:07:03 +1000
Here in Gloucester mid-north coast NSW we are invaded by Topknot Pigeons in
April and May each year, as in the valleys further north they come for the
camphor laurel and privet fruits. We also have a large population of
White-headed Pigeons, Satin Bowerbirds and Figbirds.  There is little hope
of eliminating these weedy fruiting trees so I don't think the birds will be
threatened.  The river banks are in places thickly lined with privet but we
don't have the number of camphor laurel that the Richmond and Clarence
valleys do, and our council have reduced the number of camphor laurels in
the parks.

However I spend far too much time pulling up seedlings of both species in my
garden, thanks to Pied Currawongs, bowerbirds and White-headed Pigeons, the
latter species is increasing in numbers and remains resident throughout the
year.  The currawongs arrive, like the Topknots,  in April, and cause havoc
with our resident Little Raven population, causing a flurry of friction over
territory rights, until they adjust to each other.

Other species that are increasing are Galahs and Common Mynas.  A friend
reported to day she saw a small hawk (possibly a Hobby) catch and kill a
myna yesterday. Knocked it to the ground and then dispatched it.  Hurrah!

On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 7:44 PM, Greg & Val Clancy <>wrote:

> 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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