Coffs man tackles myna problem

Bird in the hand: Gurdial Rai and the myna trap which is keeping the birds out of his blueberries.
Bird in the hand: Gurdial Rai and the myna trap which is keeping the birds out of his blueberries. Bruce Thomas

GURDIAL Rai has a problem with pesky pest birds.

He has channelled his disdain to become the most successful Indian myna trapper in Coffs Harbour and is fast approaching the 200 mark, averaging one a day in a six month period.

Indian or common mynas are an introduced pest and compete with local wildlife for habitat and food. They are aggressive and force possums and native birds from nests and tree hollows and their population is rapidly spreading.

They are such a problem the Indian Myna Project encourages volunteers to trap mynas for collection.

Mr Rai, of Rai Brothers Farm, grows blueberries and bananas on 15 acres at North Boambee and West of Coffs Harbour and has been farming in the area for 22 years.

“They love blueberries and put holes in the netting to get to them. It costs us a lot of money.

“There used to be heaps of them, the powerlines were full of mynas waiting and we chased them away but they just went to the next block of blueberry trees,” he said.

To trap the birds, one myna is put in a cage with food. This attracts other birds which go inside to eat and get stuck. When there are about five birds they are collected and euthanised by a council ranger.

Mr Rai uses this method but has an additional technique, contributing to his success. He uses his blueberry net like a huge cage.

“When the birds fly inside the nets I send in the boys and a dog to round them up and corner them in the netting.”

“There were lots of mynas a few months ago but I can’t see many now.”

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