Sunday, August 02, 2009

cockie communal chew continues

Once again, cockatoos topped the talk at this month’s Kallista Market.

The devastation the cockatoos have caused in the region is staggering.

The damage to bollards is extensive and the Shire will be replacing them with recycled plastic bollards in the near future.

This does not come cheaply and it is ratepayers who bear the cost of their replacement.

Add to this the costs that residents incur for cockatoo damage to their own properties, it is understandable that people are saying enough is enough.

A proforma letter was being circulated at the market by one resident determined to see the feeding at Grant’s Picnic Ground stopped. She was well supported by marketgoers, who were more than happy to put pen to paper to see this practice stopped.

If you would like a copy of the proforma supplied to you contact me on for an electronic copy.

The DSE have just finalised a Living with Wildlife fact sheet which makes specific reference to the issue of cockatoo damage:
Causing problems for humans…..DSE frequently receives complaints from people whose neighbours have been feeding wild animals. Often, the animals have become a nuisance and the caller wants them killed or removed. Many people do not think about the neighbourhood impact when they start feeding wildlife. Wild animals do not usually discriminate between one human and another, and will often start pestering neighbours for food. They may also cause damage to homes and property. For example, cockatoos need to chew items to maintain their beaks at the correct length and condition. They generally achieve this by chewing bark and branches in their roost trees. When people give them food, they tend to hang around near where they are fed. They also have more “free time” as they don’t need to forage. This can result in cockatoos chewing on timber fittings, outdoor furniture, other household fittings or vegetation on neighbouring properties. The best solution is to find out who is feeding the birds and ask them to stop.”

If you’d like a copy of the fact sheet email me on

I am more than happy to work with Parks Victoria and the DSE about education materials for our community so people understand the ramifications of feeding wildlife.

However whilst this practice still goes on at Grant’s Picnic Ground it is going to be very difficult to encourage residents to do the right thing whilst doing the wrong thing still continues at Grant’s.

And how do residents within range of Grant’s Picnic Ground get their neighbours to stop feeding? Why should they bear the cost of ongoing and significant repairs due to cockatoo feeding?

This is recent damage to one of the windows at the Kallista Community House, the only way to stop it happening again is to replace the windows with aluminium frames. As the windows are not a standard size custom frames must be made, making replacement costs as much as $2,000 per window. On Saturday I noticed that three of the windows in the community house has been chewed by cockatoos, not to mention the front door which has also been under attack.

Repair costs are hefty, to date the Shire expects to outlay:
$3,250 – Belgrave Library, to replace damaged cedar weatherboards and fit bird wire to protect the ceiling windows from further attack (please note this damage is likely to be from a local flock of cockatoos in the Belgrave region).
$7,500 – Kallista Village Green, to replace bollards
$2,000 per window frame, there are 3 so far – Kallista Community House
$?? – front doors – Kallista Community House
$?? – uprights – Kallista Community House
$?? – ramp – Kallista Community House
$?? – railings – Kallista Community House
$?? – fascia board – Kallista Community House
$?? – bollards – Kallista township, main street
$?? – signage for Heidelberg Artists Trail, Kallista

The Belgrave Library needed repairs as cockatoos had chewed along the window frames, the entire length of the building had to be enclosed with bird wire to stop the damage reoccuring.

Many costs are unknown, are likely to be ongoing and this list only reflects costs the Shire is bearing. What about individual residents, Kallista Kindergarten parents, Kallista Mechanics Hall committee, businesses in the region? We cannot continue to patch up cockatoo damage year after year, state government has to give this issue the serious consideration it deserves.

keep wildlife wild

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