Thursday, February 28, 2013

curbing cockie feeding

report from the roundtable – 26 feb

The issue of backyard feeding of sulphur crested cockatoos has long been a problem in the Dandenong Ranges. Residents living close by to backyard feeders often experience damage to their houses with cockatoos spending their time chewing verandahs, window frames, mortar, powerlines rather than being out in the wild foraging for food.

I was delighted to receive majority support from council for a motion I moved at this week’s council meeting. The motion seeks to publicly exhibit areas the shire wants to prohibit the backyard feeding of sulphur crested cockatoos and seek feedback from the community.
The local law will provide a legal framework for council to follow up on backyard feeders who continue to feed cockatoos to the detriment of their surrounding neighbours.

The shire will always use our  four step approach of educate, ask, tell enforce when enforcing the local law. Our first approach is always to educate people about the ramifications of feeding cockatoos.

Residents who are experiencing cockatoo damage reach levels of sheer desperation and create all manner of intricate bird scarers to attempt to keep the cockies away, however sulphur crested cockatoos are highly intelligent birds and generally manage to avoid these elaborate constructions and continue to chew.  The costs to repair the damage across the Dandenongs at last count was $0.5 million, the issue is a significant one for locals.

The reason cockies chew is to hone their beaks, generally this would happen whilst they are foraging for food in the wild, however when they are fed, there’s no need to forage but there’s still a need for them to hone their beaks, hence the chewing begins.

Cr Witlox did not support the motion and said he’d asked his relatives if they thought it was a problem suggesting it was a nanny state law, he could not confirm to council if these people he’d asked lived next door to a cockatoo feeder answering "don't know".

Councillors in favour:
Cr’s Samantha Dunn, Noel Cliff, Cox, Fiona McAllister, Jason Callanan, Maria McCarthy and Jim Child

Councillors against:
Cr Andy Witlox

Councillors absent:
Cr Terry Avery

I’ll keep you posted with details of how to submit, it’s been quite a journey, but for those poor people who have endured years of cockatoo damage from backyard feeders, the legal framework is getting closer.

For a history of the cockie issue in the Dandenongs click here.

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At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having suffered yet again, massive cocky damage, I have one comment, well done and thank you! I and others who are suffering enormous levels of commercial damage have been shooting them, which isnt our preferred method. It would be much nicer for all if people just didnt feed them so they would return to their normal environment Having 200+ cockies land in your crops, they destroy the years produce in minutes! If people want farming in many forms in the area, then the cockies must be controlled. Note, drive past Grants picnic ground around 6pm, see how many are still feeding them in the open!
Shame Parks Vic!


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