Corella problem

How many bureaucratic reports and inquiries does it take to solve a decades-long problem?
When it comes to the control of the overabundant little corella, it appears we don’t yet know.
For over 20 years, increasingly large flocks of little corellas have descended on the Fleurieu and, more recently, Mt Barker to wreak havoc and destruction.
They destroy private property, tear up recreation facilities and parklands, defecate in concentrated areas presenting public health risks, disrupt residents with their incessant noise and are slowly but surely killing some of the region’s historic trees.
For the first time in recent years both the Mt Barker and Alexandrina regions have recorded flocks staying for the whole year, rather than making the annual migration outside the district for the winter.
The problem is not going away.
It is getting worse.
Flock sizes are increasing to thousands of birds.
Yet it appears no-one within the State Government is prepared tO grasp the nettle.
There is no doubt that human settlement and urban development have added to the problem, making ideal habitats for the birds with open green spaces and artificial water sources such as dams and lakes.
There is also the added challenge of community perceptions that the birds should be protected because they are natives – despite corellas not being native to this region and despite the very real impact they are having on displacing locally native species and destroying the local environment.
For years councils have managed the problem as best they can.
But this has been an ad-hoc response lacking any co-ordination to achieve anything but the most temporary of solutions.
The tactics of scaring the birds away from public sites has only succeeded in moving the problem to other areas.
While there are long-term solutions such as developing sacrificial sites and landscaping public places to make them less attractive to the birds, these all take years to develop.
There is no plan for what is really needed – a Statewide control plan and a reduction in the birds’ numbers now.
As a result, communities will go on suffering unless State politicians and bureaucrats find the courage to make a hard call.

For the full report, see the print issue of The Courier.