SSAA member Ken Moran has by chance made a recording that could provide a novel way of helping to keep down the numbers of Indian myna birds. Ken produced a tape of some birds that he had caught and it has worked a treat at calling in others of the same feral species.
“I caught a few young ones when I was still living in the country at Millers Forest,” said Ken. “As soon as they started their squeaking sounds from inside the cage, there were other Indian mynas that came flocking to check what was happening. I think they must have thought it was some young bird in distress.
“I decided to make a recording on my iPhone and when I played it back, the Indian mynas came from everywhere.”
Ken now lives in Newcastle and doesn’t currently own a firearms licence. But he reckons the recording, lasting a mere 33 seconds, would be a handy instrument for any hunters who wanted to target the pest birds and use it as a decoy device.
“Wherever I’ve played it, the birds just come,” he said. “I was round at my daughter’s house and tried it there and the same thing happened.”
Indian mynas (also known as common mynas) were introduced in Melbourne in the 1860s in a bid to control insect pests around market gardens. They were also let loose in Cairns as a means of combating the cane beetle. However, these expert scavengers have spread throughout the country’s east coast region, where they are equally at home in urban and rural environments. In the towns, they feast on food scraps around shopping centres and picnic areas. In the country, they devour any surplus pet food lying around, as well as meat pieces or stock feed on cattle farms or dairies.
A recent survey by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission rated Indian mynas as third on the list of the top 100 world’s most invasive species. Furthermore, in 2008, the ABC’s WildWatch2 survey named the bird ‘The most important pest/problem’ in Australia.
Anyone who feels they could put the ‘cheep cheep’ sounds of Ken’s recording to good use can download the audio (depending on your browser, you may need to right click and select "save/download").