‘Pesky little birds’: corella culls planned in Western Australia | Environment

Regional councils in Western Australia are using fireworks, lethal gas, nets, and mass shooting to reduce the number of corellas, which are reportedly damaging buildings and destroying infrastructure.

The culprits are primarily eastern long-billed corellas, Cacatua tenuirostris, which were introduced to WA as a popular aviary bird.

Aviary escapees bred to create large wild flocks, which pose a threat to endemic birds such as the three WA subspecies of corella and local black cockatoos by competing for food and nesting spots.

Regional towns in mid- and south-west WA receive an increasing number of complaints about the birds each year, which the ABC reports have stripped rubber sealing from windows and damaged copper wiring.

Geraldton’s mayor, Shane van Styn, said the birds “don’t just eat, they destroy”.

He put the annual damage bill at $400,000, and told the ABC attempts to scare the birds away had not worked.

“We’re going to kill a few of these pesky little birds, and hopefully that sends a clear message to them to rack off,” Van Styn said. “They will be netted after being lured to the ground using wheat or any other nice snacks that they might like to consume, at which point they’ll be rounded up and taken to a place to be humanely gassed.”

The plan in Bunbury is similar: scatter grain, cast a net and shoot them at point-blank range with a rifle.

An earlier attempt to use fireworks to scare the birds away was not successful because the flocks reconvened nearby.

Busselton, 5okm south of Bunbury, warned residents it planned to use an artificial noisemaker that made “a loud whistle similar to a small fireworks rocket” to frighten the birds.

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions guidelines say culling corellas is an option of last resort, but that trapping and shooting quickly with a low-powered rifle was the most humane option. It issued permits for the culling of 2,000 birds last year.

“Frightened corellas will injure themselves and other birds, so they must be euthanased as quickly and humanely as possible after trapping,” it said.