Corella conundrum

April 13, 2018

Shepparton resident John Ross has been a Melbourne Cricket Club member for more than 40 years and has seen how staff successfully combat seagulls.

As rumours swirl that corellas have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of facade damage at the Shepparton Law Courts, a resident has come forward with a solution.

Mad Richmond Football Club supporter John Ross said the courthouse should look at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as a guide.

‘‘Court Services Victoria should go to the MCG and have a tour,’’ Mr Ross said.

For years, staff at the ground have been involved in an ongoing war with opportunistic seagulls, who come to feast on food scraps.

MCG venue presentation co-ordinator Vince Macolino looks after pest control at the 100000-capacity stadium and said his team had trialled a range of deterrence measures.

‘‘We used to have live eagles here, on both the northern and southern stands; sometimes it appeared to be working, sometimes it didn’t,’’ he said.

‘‘With the cost involved, we decided it wasn’t worth it and stopped using the real eagles.’’

Fake eagles were the MCG’s next port of call, with three placed strategically on points of the stadium’s roof on top of large poles.

‘‘Kites that look like eagles attached to long poles, provided it’s a windy day they can assist,’’ Mr Macolino said.

‘‘Nothing is 100 per cent foolproof, at the end of the day we have a huge hole in the middle of the stadium.’’

The MCG also had bird wires run from roof to roof, making it difficult for the flying foe to navigate inside the stadium, along with a squawker sound system.

‘‘Eight speakers emit sounds of predator birds and sounds of seagulls in distress,’’ Mr Macolino said.

‘‘But having the squawker system might cause a bit of a headache in Shepparton, luckily we’ve got 80000 people screaming in the stadium.’’

Mr Macolino’s last solution was for Court Services Victoria to contact a pest control company that could make the birds’ lives uncomfortable. ‘‘But I’m no bird expert,’’ he joked.

Court Services Victoria said it was aware of the impact the corellas were having on the new $73million building.

‘‘Works to repair the damaged areas will be carried out in the coming weeks,’’ a statement read. ‘‘A longer-term solution to address this seasonal issue is currently being investigated.’’

Mr Ross wants something done immediately.

‘‘It’s a magnificent building that is being spoilt by these little rotters, who must think the silicon is nice to eat,’’ he said.

‘‘It’ll be horrendous if they have to redo the entire silicon. I hope CSV get onto it as quick as they can.’’

Birds come in from the wild 

Corellas are a subspecies of the cockatoo, with numbers plummeting in the 1940s because of shooting and poisoning by farmers.

They are protected from culling under the Wildlife Act 1975, with significant penalties for offenders caught hunting, taking or destroying them, including imprisonment.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning works with councils, residents and land managers to provide advice about the birds.

Regional environmental compliance manager Nathan Stamkos said the birds traditionally gathered in areas of grassland and woodlands.

‘‘Since agricultural practices have changed land use, these birds have adapted; they now flock to places including townships where food, water and roost sites are often available,’’ Mr Stamkos said.

DELWP advocates non-lethal control methods for managing corellas and other native birds, particularly scaring deterrents, such as loud noises and reflective or bird-like objects.

‘‘Only once these methods have been exhausted, an Authority to Control Wildlife may be considered to control the birds lethally,’’ Mr Stamkos said.

Where damage is severe, landholders can phone DELWP on 136186 to be put in touch with their Forest and Wildlife Officer.

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