European Starling surveillance expanded

Residents on the South Coast and the adjacent Great Southern are being urged to report sightings of starlings, after an influx of detections across the state’s South Coast.

In the past five months, fifteen starlings have been trapped, compared with the one found in the previous four years.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development invasive species manager, Richard Watkins, said the number of starling lure traps had more than doubled in a bid to respond to the detections.

“An additional 17 starling lure traps have been placed in the Bremer Bay and Manypeaks districts recently, where starlings were detected in the late 1980s,” he said.

“This is in addition to 66 trapping sites established in spring across a 280 kilometre area from Hopetoun to Cape Arid.

“Extending the surveillance program will help determine whether starlings have migrated to these areas, which have conditions that are suitable for breeding.”

Mr Watkins said department officers had expressed concern over the increase in the pest bird’s numbers and were trying to determine the reason behind the increase.

“Traditionally, we would expect to find groups of juveniles, however, all the birds we have found have been young adult females that were not breeding,” he said.

“We have also seen unprecedented numbers trapped in the Eucla area, with 161 starlings caught between September and December.”

Despite being relatively small in size, starlings are known to be very loud and aggressive birds that have been known to severely damage fruit crops, disperse weeds and displace native bird species.

The juveniles are mousey brown in colour, while the adults have black feathers with a green and purple glossy sheen.

Suspected sightings can be reported via the department’s free MyPestGuide Reporter app.

Residents can also contact the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080 or