Recognised as one of the most invasive animals in the world, the Indian, or Common Myna (right) is a medium sized chocolate brown bird, about 12 cm tall, with a black head and neck. A striking yellow beak, eye patch, feet and legs are also distinguishing features. White patches on the underside of their wings are visible when in flight.
Widely disliked by most people in the community, Indian Mynas detract from the amenity of both public and private open space in several ways. The most common complaints Council receives regarding Indian Mynas include:
- Noise and mess caused by communal roosting, where groups of up to thirty or forty birds congregate in a single tree around late afternoon, vocalizing until dark and fouling the ground beneath the tree.
- Foraging around outdoor eating areas (i.e. parks, restaurants, cafes, private backyards etc) and fouling outdoor furniture - this has obvious implications for human health.
- Nesting in roofs and other man-made structures, which causes fouling and can increase fire risk through the accumulation of flammable materials.
While these impacts are important, affecting people's lifestyles and ability to enjoy the amenity of affected open space areas, another serious problem regarding Indian Mynas in North Sydney is their effect on the biodiversity of native wildlife.
Indian Mynas compete with native birds and arboreal mammals (ie. possums, gliders etc) for tree hollows in which to nest and breed.
Territorial and highly aggressive, Indian Mynas will eject native birds such as the Crimson Rosella (at right) from nesting hollows, destroy their eggs, and prevent them from utilising other hollows by chasing them away or filling surplus hollows with waste material.
It has also been documented that Indian Mynas will evict Brush-tail Possums and Sugar Gliders from suitable tree hollows. While this in itself can be highly damaging to the sustainability of certain native species, the overall scarcity of tree hollows in North Sydney's fragmented bushland further exacerbates this effect.
To date, one of the most effective Indian Myna control programs that has been successful in reducing the population density of Indian Mynas and allowing the recovery of native fauna species over a relatively large area is the Canberra Myna Eradication Program.
Founders of the Canberra Myna Eradication Program attribute a large part of their success to the fact that this initiative was started by concerned local residents, and continues to be entirely administered by community volunteers, with minimal direct government support.
NSC Indian Myna Community Action Program
North Sydney Council is supporting the development of a community-based control program for Indian Mynas, largely modelled on the successful Canberra Indian Myna Action Group.
There are a number of things that local residents can do easily and immediately to help reduce the prevalence of Indian Mynas in their local area, such as:
- Not leaving food scraps or pet food outside where Mynas can access it.
- Firmly closing or covering rubbish bins and other food sources and deliberately not feeding any birds.
- Shielding gutters and other suitable nest sites on your property.
- Installing automatic door closers and fly screens to prevent birds entering your house.
- Installing tightly stretched bird mesh (the knitted type, not mono-filament) to keep birds out of outdoor living areas.
- Planting locally indigenous plants to encourage native species, including dense shrubs to protect small birds (see our Native Havens Program).
- Lobbying your shopping centre, school or railway station to install bird proof bins or roosting barriers.
- Monitoring Indian Myna populations around your home and local area, including reporting Roost Tree locations to Council.
- Backyard trapping of Indian Mynas.
If after implementing some or all of the above strategies you are still having problems with Indian Mynas around your property, you may wish to consider undertaking a backyard trapping program. Before proceeding in this direction however, it is recommended that you read all the information available below in Council's Indian Myna Community Action Program Information Kit and be fully prepared for what is involved in backyard trapping/euthanasia of Indian Mynas.
IM Community Action Program Information Kit:
- Trapping pest birds: Dept of Primary Industries Trapping Guidelines
- Monitoring/trapping protocols: Indian Myna Community Action Program
- Trap design: Pee Gee Trap Plans
Building your own Indian Myna trap is relatively easy and inexpensive (see trap design plans above), however, if you would prefer to purchase a trap already made, there are a number of commercially available Indian Myna Traps for sale over the internet. Simply enter the search term "Indian myna trap" in your preferred internet search engine and a number of options will be provided.
If you would like to discuss the details of backyard trapping with Council's Bushland Project Officer, please call 9936 8100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org