State Government commits $400,000 to help eradicate starlings, Redman
Author: Terry Redman
Published on: 19-October-2009
The State Government has allocated an additional $400,000 to help rid the State of starlings - one of the world’s most significant bird pests.
Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman said the funds would help to provide more resources for the Department of Agriculture and Food’s eradication program as it gained momentum over coming months.
“Starlings pose a significant threat to grain and horticulture crops, in particular grapes and olives. They are also an environmental and social threat as they can cause damage to native plants, compete aggressively with native birds for nesting hollows, spread weed seeds and pollute water catchments with their faeces,” Mr Redman said.
“Last financial year, 410 starlings were removed from the south coast and a further 16 in the past month.
“Starlings are notoriously hard to catch and it is through ongoing pressure that their impact has been kept to a low level.
The Minister said the funds were provided under the Natural Resource Management budget allocation and brought the State Government’s commitment to the Starling Eradication Program to $1.9million in 2009-10. This breeding season, which runs from now until April, the program will concentrate on the Coomalbidgup, Condingup and Munglinup areas surrounding Esperance.
“There are now believed to be just 300 starlings left in Western Australia, following a successful operation targeting starlings in the Mason’s Bay and Jerdacuttup areas last year,” Mr Redman said.
The department is continuing its long-term border protection program, with starling control staff based at Eucla minimising the movement of starlings from the east across the Nullarbor.
Starlings are black or grey in colour, about 21 centimetres long with fine pointed beaks and short tails. Any sightings of starlings can be reported to the department’s Pest and Disease Information Service on freecall 1800 084 881.