By Bill Handke, President, Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc.
The Indian Myna problem in Canberra has taken a positive turn with some 9 600 Indian Mynas now removed from around Canberra and Queanbeyan by 230 backyard trappers over the past year. Indian Mynas – feral birds that were introduced to the Canberra region in 1968 – are despised as a major threat to our wildlife and as a
significant nuisance in people’s backyards. They take over nesting hollows of native birds, prey on their eggs and chicks. Many people are also greatly disturbed by the way they scare native birds away from their gardens and foul their patios and barbeque areas. The trappers, members of the community-action group, Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc (CIMAG), have made a huge difference. There are now regular reports that myna numbers have dropped significantly in local areas, native birds are coming back into backyards and Rosellas returned to nesting hollows last breeding season.
Kambah has been a particularly successful area for trapping. With 22 people with traps, 3061 mynas have been removed from Kambah over the past year. Other highly successful suburbs are Garran, Duffy, Pearce, Theodore, Aranda and Hall.
This is wonderful news for our native wildlife. And some considerable respite for people who are concerned about the presence of mynas in their backyards.
But the job has a long way to go. Indian Mynas continue to be seen in big numbers in many parts around Canberra: around shopping centres and in areas where there has been little or no trapping.
More needs to be done to reduce the opportunities mynas have for feeding, breeding and roosting. All Canberrans can help in this area: by not leaving cat or dog food out during the day and by not feeding the birds directly; by blocking holes in the eaves and other areas around their homes that mynas can use as nesting hollows; and by removing pencil pines and similar dense foliage exotic trees that are used as roost trees at night.
If people want to know more about the activities of CIMAG they can contact Bill Handke, the President of CIMAG (phone 02 6231 7461 or email firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to the CIMAG website: www.indianmynaaction.org.au .