The humane traps have seen thousands of birds caught.
The humane traps have seen thousands of birds caught.

Tweed residents snare thousands of invasive ‘flying rats’

TWEED residents have snared thousands of Indian mynas in traps as part of a shire-wide effort to drive down the population of one of the world's most invasive bird species.

There's just one problem.

Trappers have been so zealous in their efforts to catch the bird referred to as 'flying rats' or 'cane toads of the sky' that Tweed Shire Council is short 50 of the traps it has loaned since its program started in 2008.

While some of the humane bird traps may be gathering dust on garage floors, the council's program leader of pest management Pamela Gray said there's too many keen trappers and not enough devices to share around.

She called on those who do have traps outstanding and unused to return them to the council, with a record of how many birds were trapped, so more residents can continue with community trapping.

COMMON MYNA BIRDS TARGETED BY COUNCILLOR

"There's such good uptake in the community," she said.

"There's so many people coming on board, it would be great if people who aren't using the traps could return them."

While it's hard to assess numbers of the introduced birds, Ms Gray believes the trapping in Tweed - perhaps the sole program of its type in New South Wales - has gone a long way to reducing impacts on native animals.

The birds are an invasive species. Picture: John Appleyard
The birds are an invasive species. Picture: John Appleyard

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She thanked trappers for their relentless efforts to turn the tide on the myna, which had settled in to stay "through most of the shire" - as it has across the country.

The Indian myna (or common myna) causes turmoil for native species due to their hollow-nesting nature.

During nesting season they take over hollows which would otherwise be used by lorikeets, rosellas, kookaburras and sugar gliders.

The pest birds have even been known to kick animals as big as possums out of their hiding holes.