University of SA researcher Philip Roetman said the project was gathering the collective knowledge of people across the state to help develop a better understanding of why some areas had severe problems and what worked best to mitigate the issue.
A citizen science project is trying to work out the most effective ways to manage rampaging flocks of corellas across parts of South Australia.
“We are now mapping the distribution sites across the state and this information is available on the project website. Further results will be made available around the middle of the year,” he said.
Simon Grenfell of Alexandrina Council, south of Adelaide, said the Fleurieu Peninsula region was severely affected each year between about November and May.
“Strathalbyn is probably the most impacted town we’ve got in our area, down to Milang, Clayton Bay and also into Goolwa,” he told 891 ABC Adelaide.
“I think it’s got to do with the river corridor that runs through Strathalbyn, which is very attractive for them. There’s plenty of water, there’s nice tall eucalypts, plenty of pine trees.
“They have destroyed a couple of very significant Norfolk Island pines in our Strathalbyn soldiers’ memorial gardens.
“We could have 20,000 birds in Strathalbyn at the moment. We’re getting quite a few complaints from residents.”
Authorities spend millions of dollars trying to deal with the corellas, including efforts to protect such things as electricity infrastructure from the pecking flocks.
- Citizen feedback will help develop a statewide pest control strategy.
- Everything from birds of prey to strobe lights have been tried against corella flocks.
- Authorities say the birds are highly intelligent, so hard to outsmart.
Corellas attracted to cropping land
“Agriculture has really favoured this species, it’s been able to capitalise on the cropping land and grain that often remains after crops have been harvested, it certainly provides a great resource to being the birds into some of these southern areas,” Adelaide regional ecologist Jason van Weenen explained.
“They’re very smart parrots so it makes it particularly difficult to have a really good effect in moving them on.”
Mr Grenfell agreed the species was highly intelligent.
“As soon as you put one technique in place they’ll get used to it, they’ll adapt to it and then it won’t work. You’ve got to try a variety of different things,” he said of efforts to scare the corellas away.
“The community science project is about bringing all those
He said Alexandrina Council alone had tried many tactics over recent years.
“Everything from shooting them, we’ve had gas and trap programs, we’ve had clap boards, strobe lights, electronic noise emitters,” he said.
“At the moment again we’re actually using birds of prey, flying them over our main parks and trying to get the birds out of Strathalbyn.
“We’ve got somebody who goes out there a few nights a week and tries to move them out of the town with strobe lights and other noise emitters.”
Experts say the birds fly south in the summer and early autumn months from far north parts of the state, including the Flinders Ranges.
Uni SA said 1,400 people had so far completed an online survey about corellas in their parts of the state and the citizen project would guide a statewide management plan, which would be funded by the South Australian environment department.