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A Cane Toad on Wings Seen in Anglesea
19 February 2003

What has the European Fox, rabbit, Serrated Tussock and Bone Seed have in common. All are introduced species on the Surf Coast that have become environmental weeds/pest animals. All have taken thier toll on the areas biodiversity and all are costing rate payers a great deal of time, physical effort and money in conrol measures.

Unfortunately the Surf Coast can add one new bird species to this list of environmental disasters. They have finally arrived. Two Common Mynas, previously refered to as Indian Mynas, have taken up residence in Anglesea to the future detriment of other native bird species.

The single pair have been observed on numerous occassions on the corner of Murray Road and the Great Ocean Road and in front of the Anglesea Surf Club during the past month.

Common Myna Background
The introduction of the Common Myna occurred in south eastern Australia in1863 when 42 birds were released in Melbourne. Today it is one of the most common birds in urban environments in eastern Australia.

Originally from Afghanistan and India, eastward to southern China, it is thought the birds were released in Australia to combat agricultural pests. It was not till the 1950's that the first mynas were observed in Geelong. By the 1960's the Common Myna reached Queenscliff.

The Common Myna - A Cane Toad on Wings
The aggressive nature of this bird, together with its need to utilize up to nine nest hollows per breeding pair, is a major cause of concern. Common Mynas have been known to throw Crimson Rosella eggs out of a hollow in order to claim it as their own territory.

Controlling the Spread of the Common Myna
Parts of the Surf Coast Shire have had the unique distinction of being Common Myna free. In particular, coastal areas west of Bellbrae to eastern Lorne. However without intervention, Common Mynas will eventually arrive to all parts of the Surf Coast Shire.

The spread of the Common Myna into further regions of the Shire is sure to have a detrimental effect on local birdlife, in particular those species that nest in hollows such as parrots, cockatoos and kookaburras to name but a few.

Identification
The Common Myna is a distinctive bird that cannot be confused with any native species. It has a trademark black, hangman type hood, bright yellow beak, legs and eye ring and overall brown body. When in fight, several white wing feathers are evident.

You Can Help
Imagine you were observing two rabbits on a lawn in Anglesea. Imagine that these were the only rabbits in Australia. What would happen? With hindsight, all priorities and efforts would go into their control to prevent the environmental disaster they have unfortunately already caused.

You can help control the spread of this Cane toad with Wings by reporting any sightings in the Anglesea and Aireys Inlet area to the Surf Coast Shire. This will allow us to determine their present range within the Shire and provide valuable information in controlling their spread into areas that they are not yet found.

Information required includes:
· Date and time observed
· Number of individual birds
· Exact location

If we can act quickly, it may be possible to keep Anglesea and the surrounding area Myna Free and prevent yet another environmental disaster from occurring. If you have seen the two Mynas descibed above, please contact the Surf Coast Shires' Common Myna Hotline ASAP.

David Pace
ENVAC (Environmental Advisory Committee member for the Surf Coast Shire)
Environmental Education Coordinator, Torquay Primary School

Common Myna HOTLINE: (03)52 61 0600

The Common Minor

   
   
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