Monday, July 11, 2011

Across the Border: Potts Point: Reader Story: Cockatoo Cull

Harro, my name's Errol, you know, after the movie-star and all. I may be a cockatoo, but I'm a lot like Errol Flynn in many ways. Yes, I admit, me crest isn't looking too good these days - I am in my 40s - but when it's breeding season, I still got a reputation with the ladies: in like Flynn, they say.
Well, I'm a big fan of Violet's blog and when she heard that me and me family were in some strife, she asked me to write about it for My Darling Darlinghurst. I'm not the greatest writer, I never did go to school and all, but Violet offered to clean up me spelling, so here goes.

I have lived in Sydney all me life and me family has been here for, oh, I don't know, more than ten generations, I'd say. We are indigenous to Australia but before coming to Sydney, me mob lived down near Young, in southwest NSW. 
But we like it here in Sydney. Most of the time, we hang around the Royal Botanic Gardens, gallivanting through the air between the tall trees. The tourists love it.
Me and some mates also spend a fair bit of time around Darlinghurst, The Loo, Kings Cross, Potts Point and Rushcutters Bay. There's a lot happening in them parts and there's some beaut trees too. 
We also like to chew on the sides of some buildings - you never know what you might find and it's good to keep the beak in tip top shape. The edges of the Garvan Institute building on Victoria Street are particularly good; I reckon we knocked off quite a chunk of that one. 
There's also a few residents who welcome us on to their verandas with offerings of honey-soaked bread. I'm not much into bread - gotta watch the carbs and all - but I like to have a chat with the people.

Recently, me and me mob have been hanging out sometimes in Potts Point. Posh part of town that one. Lots of fancy stores and flash cars to leave droppings on. We often have a bit of a squark (do click on the link) on the top of the art deco Tara building at 3 Greenknowe Avenue. It's got to be one of the highest points in the area, so our squarks can be heard for miles around, letting other mobs know who's boss in town.
There's also a nice wooden pergola thing on the top of Tara. We love to nibble on that one from time to time and because of that we are in some big trouble.

Apparently some residents of the building have applied to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for a licence to kill me and me mob and word is they WILL be given permission to either shoot or poison us. 
It has happened before too. Last year, the NPWS granted a permit to kill 20 cockies that were chewing on the Uni Lodge building on Broadway at inner-city Ultimo. Doesn't matter that we are a protected native species. 
And it was awful. Bang-bang! And then two of me old mates were dead. No warning, nothing. The rest took off. Scared shitless. But I think since then, a new mob has been chewing on the building again. They don't know what happened last time.


So I've been staying right away from Tara. It's not worth risking me life for a bit of wood-chewing. But I can't get word out to every cockie in the city: some innocent parrot could unwittingly go for a nibble or just a squark on top of Tara and then bang. Dead.

Now this is where I need your help. There are other ways of deterring me and me mob that aren't fatal. With all that money in Potts Point, surely they could invest in ultrasonic devices or kites and other visual deterrents, maybe even bird-spikes or some type of noise deterrent. From me past experience I know that slow-voltage shock-tape works. Never going near that stuff again. Ouch.
But guns and poison? That's a bit extreme isn't it? Your kind and my kind have lived alongside each other for years. Some of your blokes have destroyed our property, cut down our trees and all, but we haven't come after you with guns.
And yes, we may be noisy, but strewth, some of your fellas have some loud bloody cars, I can tell you. Doesn't mean we try and poison you. A simple crap on your windscreen is enough of a warning.
So please, can you help me? All you have to do is sign a petition. It has worked in the past and us cockatoos are hoping it works this time too. We just need enough people to sign up and say that it's not okay to shoot cockatoos.

See, look at how loveable I am. You wouldn't want to shoot me, would ya?
Please sign the petition. You're our only hope.

UPDATE: Squark! It's not the Tara residents who are packing their pistols, it's the people at Kingsclere, at 1 Greenknowe Avenue, next door - and I don't even go there that much! Stay away from Kingsclere, cockies!


ODH said...

Squark! Errol, I was wondering where you'd flown to. I miss our twilight rendezvous at Tara. Every now and then I fly by, just to see if you're there, and alas, all I see is that sleazebag Terry, chomping on the garden, along with his gang.
Now I know you're down at the Gardens, I'll be flying down there for a visit.
Squark! Olivia

Katrina said...

Thanks so very much Violet for spreading the word! You and Errol rock :)

hellozio said...

this is horrible! how can they say you are a protected species and then go off and shoot you? makes no sense. cant they just add something to the buildings to deter the birds? they do this for pigeons with those metal protrusions around train stations etc. i dont think this is the answer. and if the complaint is about the squawk, what about the noise s of cars and garbage trucks and the idiots they play their music at earth shattering volumes? they are the ones that deserve the bullet. LEAVE THE BIRDS ALONE!!!

Errol said...

Thanks everyone for signing me petition. It's gonna be sent to the NPWS and the environment minister this week sometime, so please spread the word so we can get more signatures.
Olivia, spread the word, me old bird. And see youse all down at the gardens. Errol xxx

The Editor said...

Well we got some movement on this today. Onya Violet.

Paul White said...

Culling native wild birds in urban areas is absolutely necessary - once they reach the point where the damage they cause becomes a safety issue - for example lighting displays falling on pedestrians outside the DeVere Hotel in Macleay Street.

It is not unethical either, culling the birds is not an ethical issue - especially when we kill/cull/destroy so much wildlife for consumption or to provide for non-native species.

Unsafe - Only if done by amateurs
Inaction will fail to protect property and people.

Previous culls of sulphur crested cockatoos have worked - but only for a while - the population will re-build if you don't keep the numbers down.

Simple internet searches for “humane cockatoo control in urban areas” are exactly that - useless if you fail to read the detail.

Ultrasound devices - need to be used in conjunction with sound effects from speakers as the birds get used to the noise. How many speakers do you want on your heritage building?
Kites - Have you tried flying a kite in Potts Point!
Other Visual Deterrents - The birds can't read! Flapping your knickers out of the window will only put them off while when you're there.
Shock Tape - They would pull it off with their beaks in no time and it can only be fitted in continuous strips - most heritage buildings don't have continuous window frames.
Bird spikes - The cockatoos lean through them or stand on them to attack the window frames on our building
Noise Deterrents - It's already noisy enough in the area and the cockatoos don't seem to mind. I'm sure you'll be the first to complain when blanks are fired every 30 seconds - as used in orchards to scare cockatoos away.

If these "beautiful wild creatures" were ugly rodents you'd find no problem culling them - I fail to see what looks have to do with it.

Please pass this comment on to your information on to your friends, families and colleagues - the heritage buildings need your support.

Simple actions have demonstrably failed to prevent the birds from attacking the numerous heritage buildings in the area. So either we cull the birds - or we cover every building in the area in wire mesh. I know which most people would prefer.

Anonymous said...

@ Paul White
Wake up. Do u think these birds could be bothered eating buildings if some idiot wasn't supplying food to them? Idiots feeding these birds is what attracts them there in the first place otherwise they would be spending all day foraging for food
I see so many people feeding these birds from their little windows in Potts point, kings x and Woolloomooloo. These people should be fined just as people are fined for feeding dingoes. These idiots are altering the behavior of a wild animal and THEY solely are to blame. There are no birds eating the heritage building I live in, in Woolloomooloo and do you know why? Because no one in my building is feeding them!! It's not rocket science.

Paul White said...

Go back to sleep!
There's no one in our building feeding them but that's not to say that someone in a nearby building isn't doing so. The only reason they're not eating the W hotel at Woolloomooloo which is made of tasty wood it that they put low-voltage bird shock strips on it a few years ago. Unfortunately, this is not suitable for heritage buildings with small windows set well apart.
They do hang around more if they're being fed - and I agree the people feeding them should be fined, but there are a large flock of birds in the area and cockatoos like to chew - fed or not.
Perhaps the reason they're in Potts Point and not Woolloomooloo is that they're snobs :-)

Sacha said...

This is absolutely dreadful! I only found out about it today.

Is it absolutely impossible to prevent the cockatoos damaging the buildings? There should only be a cull if absolutely necessary - this hasn't been demonstrated.

janet de c said...

Down the end of St Neot Avenue Potts Point one always sees quantities of little bits of styrofoam on the street. One day someone pointed out to me where it is coming from- a block of flats which is being picked apart by cockatoos! I know nothing about building but the cornices of this building appear to be styrofoam substance and the bird are literally chewing the building apart,

Flyingus Foxii. said...

Hey Errol, you still around? Please tell your people to stop eating the buildings. If you want a good feed fly over to Darlo and have a midnight feast with us.
Good ambience, good company, good conversation, and you might even get your picture taken for a certain famous blog.

Lynne said...

I took some great shots of them in 2009. Sad indeed. My family has lived in the area from the mid 1800s. notice an influx of crows and ibis that are scavenging in the Cross