Emerging Pest Species
Common Mynas (AKA Indian Mynas) are a problem and a problem humans are responsible for. We need to remedy this or native birds will be overrun and lost to us forever. If culling Indian Mynas is not for you, there are other simple things that will reduce their numbers. Mynas thrive where humans live because we provide them with ideal living conditions, clear landscapes devoid of native vegetation and all kinds of animal and pet food left out for them to enjoy. Poultry pens need to be bird proof, compost and manure covered, uneaten pet food removed quickly or pets fed inside and never ever put out bird seed in the mistaken idea you are helping native birds. In the longer term combatting Mynas with require a major rethink that will encourage us to take action to positively discriminate in favour of native birds. Research has shown that landscapes with a reduced lawn area containing a mixture of native trees, shrubs and herbs, especially with a dense understorey, will attract a variety of birdlife without providing suitable habitats for Mynas. So each of us needs to include some local native shrubbery and other smaller native plants in our gardens that provide habitat for native birds. We also need to embrace indigenous and native trees as street trees and encourage Council to use them in our streetscapes to make up for the trees that have been lost due to multi housing developments and those that will not be planted because of the smaller housing allotments now common in Knox. Native or indigenous street trees are essential to provide transport corridors and easy access for native birds to our gardens from their homes in Knox’s remnant bushland reserves.
There has been no study done on the numbers of native birds, mammals, butterflies and insects remaining in Knox, but 41% of Knox’s surviving indigenous native plant species are Critically Endangered, i.e. they fall into the highest risk category for local extinction. The explosion in the numbers of Indian Mynas is a good illustration of what it will mean to the future for all of our wildlife if we continue to clear and not replace their habitat.
Residents and Council alike need to rethink attitudes to indigenous and native vegetation in our gardens and our streetscape and work to create habitat for our native species which will ultimately see the need to cull Common Mynas, and other introduced species, diminished.
Cover photo by Melissa Allen: Common Myna - Acridotheres tristis