Invasive bird species found 30 kilometres north-east of Esperance

A watch alert for unusual birds has been issued to residents in the Esperance region after four starlings were detected along the coast.

The birds were found 30 kilometres north-east of Esperance during a seasonal surveillance and trapping program run by The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Department invasive species manager Richard Watkins said department officers had increased trapping in the area and reminded residents to be vigilant of unusual activity such as birds on the back of livestock or black birds flying in tight groups.

“The common starling is considered one of the world’s worst bird pests,” he said.

“They feed on cultivated grain and horticultural crops, disperse weeds, foul wool and can displace native birds.”

The department run an ongoing trapping and surveillance program in the south-east of the state to prevent the invasion of the pest birds from South Australia.

“We are also working with South Coast Natural Resource Management and Esperance Bird Observers volunteers to assist with surveillance efforts,” he said.

“We have reduced starling numbers in the region dramatically over the past decade and we want to continue to work closely with the community on starling control.”

The small to medium-sized pests can appear plain black, but have distinctive glossy black feathers with an iridescent green and purple sheen.

Young birds are a mouse-brown colour.

Starlings are aggressive, social birds and can form very large flocks that move, feed and roost together.

Report unusual sightings to the Pest and Disease Service 9368 3080 or email padis@dpird.wa.gov.au.