Bird dec­i­ma­tion blamed on poi­son

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

A lit­tle piece of Mt Roskill that used to be alive with birds is now a bar­ren ‘‘desert’’ de­void of life.

The prop­erty owner says poi­son is to blame.

This sum­mer the Mt Roskill pen­sioner, who asked not to be named, says she has re­vived sev­eral birds that mys­te­ri­ously be­came un­well on her prop­erty.

When she dis­cov­ered what ap­peared to be bird feed scat­tered on her drive­way it oc­curred to her that some­thing sin­is­ter could be at play.

She thinks some­one is lac­ing wheat with poi­son and throw­ing it into her prop­erty to counter her bird feed­ing ef­forts.

‘‘We’ve had pi­geons, spar­rows, wax­eyes and black­birds all van­ish out of our back­yard,’’ she says.

‘‘It up­sets me con­sid­er­ably. It’s not very nice to find dead and dy­ing birds.

‘‘It used to be our lawns would be alive and mov­ing with birdlife. Now it’s dead empty, like a desert.’’

Auck­land Bird Res­cue man­ager Lyn Macdon­ald is aware of the prob­lem.

She says it’s quite com­mon for res­i­dents who are not fond of birds to take mat­ters into their own hands with an over-the-counter poi­son.

‘‘It is a prob­lem,’’ she says. ‘‘ Any­one can buy al­pha-chlo­ralose across the counter and fling it about willy-nilly.

‘‘You can mix it with bread or wheat and spread it about and birds eat it. ‘‘We get lots of calls about this.’’ She says it should not be read­ily avail­able and pest man­age­ment should be left to the pro­fes­sion­als.

The poi­son causes the birds to go into a stu­por and any­one us­ing it is sup­posed to gather up the poi­soned birds and kill them hu­manely.

The Mt Roskill woman says she un­der­stands the need for con­trol­ling some species of birds but it should be done cor­rectly.

‘‘What about our tui and fan­tails and na­tive pi­geons? Why should they suf­fer?’’

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