Corella problem

Growing flocks of little corellas have been a nuisance in SA for years.
In Fleurieu centres like Strathalbyn and Willunga, the seasonal summer flocks are a regular annoyance for locals, bringing noise and destruction into the towns.
In Mt Barker the birds are a relatively new presence, only growing in number rapidly over the past five years or so.
With all the deterrents that have been trialled at problem sites around the State, one thing remains certain.
The birds never really go away.
When one council area has success at shifting the flocks made up of sometimes thousands of birds, they simply move the problem to the region next door.
Little corellas are a native species, but in their current numbers they have become a pest that needs controlling.
The most effective short-term solution to manage the species is arguably a State run cull.
The corella problem has parallels with the overpopulation of koalas on Kangaroo Island.
Rather than face the unpopular decision to cull the animals, which were destroying the island’s fragile ecosystem, untold millions were spent on sterilising 12,700 animals and relocating thousands more to the State’s South East.
Similarly, local governments across the State have spent their own resources trying to deter the birds from public places.
Schools, businesses and residents have also had to bear the cost of trying to move the birds on, or cover the damage they cause to infrastructure and the environment.
The Mt Barker Council’s plan for non-lethal scaring may well move the birds out of the town centre, but they will almost certainly become someone else’s problem.
Until the State’s environment authorities can develop a co-ordinated, Statewide plan for the birds, piecemeal management projects will achieve little other than to shift the problem.
While the University of SA’s Discovery Circle project has made many worthwhile long-term management options, these will take local governments years to implement successfully.
Culling, while an unpalatable option to some, must be considered as a short-term option because the growing overpopulation of the species cannot continue to go on unchecked.

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