Indian mynas

Indian mynas are a real threat to our indigenous bird population because they aggressively out-compete native birds for nesting sites and food.  The Canberra Indian Myna Action Group had to develop strong measures against mynas after the Canberra bushfires when they found that local bird species were being forced out of remnant and new and emerging vegetation.  CIMAG developed very simple and easily made traps to catch these birds and a humane way to dispose of them.  The results of their program have been nothing but spectacular if you go to  www.indianmynaaction.org.au  

After Victoria's 2009 fires,  members of the Northern Yarra Landcare Network noticed that more mynas were returning to bushfire affected areas than native birds, so formed the Yarra Indian Myna Action Group to implement a trapping program based on that designed in Canberra.  YIMAG with support from Yarra Ranges Council , ran a series of trap making workshops throughout the  municipality.  SDLG loans out traps to people wanting to trap and humanely dispose of these pests.  We ask that people sign an animal welfare protocol to trap and  dispose of the captured birds humanely.   You must follow the guidelines and be patient - these are intelligent and social birds which is why they are such successful colonisers.   Of course, we would prefer that people didn't encourage mynas by feeding native birds, having uncovered compost heaps with food scraps,  leaving out pet food and not enclosing chookhouse roofs with wire so mynas can't get to the chook food.

  Below is an article on dealing with mynas by Juliana de Graaf, member of Friends of Monbulk Creek, Colby Drive Group.  Thanks Juliana for sharing your expertise and for looking after the local environment, especially kookaburras!  Life in Belgrave just wouldn't be the same without their noisy and entertaining presence.

  

The Impact of the Indian Myna in my life.                                                      February 2015

 by Juliana de Graaf,  Southern Dandenongs Landcare Group                                                                                  

I first noticed the bossy,  irritating,  scolding voice of a pair of  Indian Myna birds when I woke on a particular morning about six years ago. I live in Belgrave just up from Belgrave Lake Park I can see glimpses of the park through the trees. I have four giant eucalypts on my block,  all of them with nesting hollows. I have encouraged native species of birds to the garden by removing environmental weeds and  planting indigenous plants and grasses as food and habitat for them.

So the usual morning chorus of birds’ song has always been a wondrous joyful thing with much variety!

The noise of the Indian Myna made me feel intruded upon and quite angry…when I went out to see what they were so outraged about in my garden. I was appalled to find a pair of Indian Myna birds had decided that the kookaburra should leave its hollow because they wanted it.

I threw a few stones at them to no avail ….and got on to the ‘google’ to see what I could do about this!

I came across the Canberra Indian Myna Action Group Inc (CIMAG).

They have a website which gives information about the Indian Myna bird, its origins and abilities, and the site gives information on how we might possibly fight them and includes plans on how to make a trap.     www.indianmynaaction.org.au

 

The Indian Myna or Acridotheres tristis is a huge feral pest animal in Australia, and in other countries.

It outranks the Cane Toad in its destructive invasive monocultural drive.

It eats everything. The Indian Myna bird in around town will pick up any scraps and out of town eats everything; any of our native species eat and eat the eggs and young of our native species as well!

The Indian Myna acts as a group, relentlessly driving anything including the big brush tail possums out of hollows and nesting sites

Another nasty habit of the Indian Myna is its way of filling hollows of trees and spaces under the eaves of houses with rubbish. Anything bits of plastic and paper, straws, sticks, fabric and feathers. The result is that native creatures cannot nest in those hollows and nests. Human homes in which the Indian Myna birds have made their nests become serious fire and health hazards. 

‘So it’s a clever creature’ you say ‘and a survivor, a part of nature’s evolution…why bother worrying about it?’

I’ll tell why we Need to worry about it.

The Indian Myna bird cannot do all the different things our native birds and animals do,

 They cannot pollinate the flowers of the different plants, as the honey eaters and wattle birds do,

 They cannot crack open the nuts in which the giant trees store their seed as our parrots and cockatoos do,

 They are not equipped to dig out the big grubs living in the branches of the gum trees.

Without all these processes our bush stands in danger of not being able to regenerate and thus survive.

So what can we do about it?

 Get Serious about their removal now!

 

What did I do about it?

I copied the blueprints of the Indian Myna bird trap from the CIMAG website and I made a trap.

I baited the trap with dry catfood inside the trap, and scattered some free feed around the trap… and waited.

First day there were a few lookers and free feeders; next day two had cleverly found how to get in. 

When night time came I took the trap to the shed and took the birds out. I put them into a small bird travel cage and put the cage and birds into a bucket of water. They drowned quickly, and I buried them near the orange tree.

The next day I set the trap early in the morning and by night fall I had caught six.

I disposed of them the same way.

I am not by nature a cruel or ruthless person and disposing of the birds took a bit of self talking. I reminded myself that these Indian Myna birds have no mercy when it comes to the native wildlife and any other living thing.

 I just want a fair go for the bush.

There are other methods of euthanizing the birds… by putting the small cage into a plastic bag and using car exhaust for example.

Altogether I have disposed of around 100 out of my garden the kookaburras brought two young into the world this year!

It has been a while now and the Indian Myna bird population around my garden is a passing thing I occasionally catch one or a pair who have flown in,  but I see them up the street and in neighbours’ gardens and I can see the numbers increasing everywhere.

 

We need to let people know how big this menace is and give them access to traps.I am hopeful we will very soon generate the will to get on top of this huge problem. We can get the Indian Myna bird under control. To just let them take over and destroy our bush and our environment is not right.

I have made traps for a few people now, and I am happy to loan the traps and service them. One person has caught 94 Indian Myna birds in 5 months!

Her garden in the old days had many parrots and honeyeaters and small insect feeders… then only the Indian Myna bird…now again she has been able to restore the native population.