Council is urged to take major action on mynas

WELLINGTON Shire Council has been urged to implement a strategy to trap Indian myna birds.

The Indian myna, native to Asia, is one of only three species of birds to be included in the International Union of Conservation of Nature’s list of 100 most invasive species.

In Australia, the bird is regarded as a pest, particularly in urban areas.

Sale resident Adam Dunning told Tuesday night’s council meeting the bird posed a major problem.

“They kill our native species, they’re aggressive, they’re an introduced species and potentially devastating results to our local breeds and native animals,” he said.

“I’ve seen them invade my garden here in Sale.

“In the last year I’ve seen an increase of these birds, with a decrease of other birds.

“That’s a little bit concerning.”

Mr Dunning said other councils in Australia were dealing with the problem by using traps to reduce numbers.

“The whole issue here is humanely euthanising the birds,” he said.

“Can the council undertake some research to look at how problematic this is the in the shire, and if so, could something be implemented to address this in terms of renting traps or having traps available for sale?”

Council chief executive David Morcom said the Indian myna had not been declared a pest by the state government. 

Such a move would enable the government to fund programs to reduce numbers, which had been done for foxes.

Mr Morcom said council would investigate the programs of councils such as Casey in Melbourne.

“The common responses are community action groups; they are particularly successful in highly-urbanised areas,” he said.

“There’s less evidence, from my understanding, of how it works in more regional and rural areas, but we can certainly have a look at it.”

In Australia, Indian mynas are considered to threaten native biodiversity because of their territorial behaviours and nest cavity competition. 

They maintain and defend territories aggressively during the breeding season and this behaviour is thought to evict native bird species from nesting boxes and tree hollows and even kill eggs and chicks.

Mynas are also known to carry diseases such as avian malaria, which can drive some native birds into extinction.

They can also carry diseases such as avian influenza and salmonellosis, and parasites such as mites, which can cause dermatitis in humans.

Mynas can cause serious damage to ripening fruit, such as grapes and blueberries.

Roosting and nesting near residential areas often results in noise complaints and health and safety concerns.

In a nation-wide survey in 2005, the Australian public rated the mynas as the most significant pest, ahead of cane toads, European rabbits and feral cats.

No particular legislative responsibility for myna control or management exists in states where mynas are already established.