There has been a significant increase in the numbers of corellas roosting and feeding in townships, farms and bushland across the Tatiara District Council area. This has economic, social and environmental ramifications therefore Council needs to take appropriate action in an attempt to mitigate the problem. The diversity in agriculture activities in the region provides an ideal food source for Corellas and when combined with the presence of permanent water sources and roosting sites provides an attractive area for these birds.
Problems caused by Corellas
Corellas have been known to damage electrical cabling, chew new vine shoots, forage in newly sown crops, and damage a variety of sports playing surfaces, other assets in the district and defoliate trees. When the birds are in large flocks they are extremely noisy and their potential to spread disease makes the Corella a significant source of nuisance for the community.
Typical behaviour of Corellas
Corella flocks typically gather and descend on a few localised areas which can cause problems in town areas especially when they flock in large numbers. They are highly intelligent birds with a communal and habitual nature. The roosting period generally commences in November through to April depending on seasonal weather variations.
The typical daily activity pattern for Corellas is to start calling at first light and as the light grows, birds begin to move about the roost trees and calling intensifies. The birds will then commence feeding and foraging for food. Little Corellas return to the evening roosting site near sunset and are often noisy while settling to roost.
What can residents do ?
In South Australia, the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 declares the Little Corella species to be unprotected. This means that private property owners, with the appropriate licences, may destroy Little Corellas by shooting without a permit. A permit is required from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to destroy Long-billed Corella’s and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo’s.
The Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources has prepared a Code of Practice for the humane destruction of birds by shooting, which is available on their website www.environment.sa.gov.au. It is important that this Code of Practice is followed at all times.
Property owners experiencing detrimental impacts caused by Corellas can use a variety of non-lethal methods to deter them from frequenting their property. These include the use of loud, sharp noises where appropriate or rotating flashing lights and high powered torches between sunset and sunrise. The use of physical barriers such as bird netting or visual deterrents may also be used in some situations. It is important to employ a multi-faceted approach with a number of control mechanisms to ensure that the birds do not become accustomed to one particular control method.
Rural property owners must comply with requirements set by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Country Fire Service (CFS) when using gas guns to deter these birds from their property.
What action is Council Undertaking ?
An important part of any Corella control program is understanding their behaviour. To have an effective management approach it is necessary to know where the flocks are roosting, where they are feeding and how they move about during the day. All of this information will help determine the current and future management approaches, and their effectiveness.
Tatiara Council with the assistance of rural landholders and authorised shooters has commenced its program to decrease numbers as the large flocks are having a negative impact on some sections of the community.
This program includes the following measures:
- Targeting ‘Scout birds’ to scare them and move them out of town.
- Use of Bird Frite shots to scare Corellas
- the use of rotating or strobing lights, lasers and starting pistols
- the discreet culling of a small number of birds in appropriate locations
- working with property owners to limit access to food and water sources
- Trap and gas program. This program proved ineffective and cost prohibitive.
Further Information and feedback
Council encourages residents to participate in the Little Corella Research Project being conducted by the University of South Australia. The intent is to collect data to inform the future development of a state-wide management strategy. You can find the link to the survey plus more information about this innovative project at www.discoverycircle.org.au.
Further information on Little Corellas can be obtained by contacting Council General Inspector Adrian Packer on 87 521044 m 0427191755 or The Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources – Upper South East at Keith on 87551620 or visiting their website at www.environment.sa.gov.au
Galah Little Corella Long Billed Corella Sulphur Crested Cockatoo