Get­ting rid of the rook

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF REPORTER

Pos­sums, rats, stoats, fer­rets and feral cats are not the only pests threat­en­ing the coun­try’s flora and fauna - some birdlife is on that list.

The Otago Re­gional Coun­cil (ORC) needs help from the com­mu­nity to keep an eye out for rooks and their nest­ing sites, as part of the an­nual spring erad­i­ca­tion pro­gramme.

Rooks are con­sid­ered a pest be­cause of the ex­ten­sive dam­age they can cause to crops and new grass. They have pre­vi­ously been spot­ted in Man­iototo, Strath Taieri, Mid­dle­march, and South Otago around Clin­ton and Cly­de­vale.

ORC en­vi­ron­men­tal mon­i­tor­ing and op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor Scott Ma­cLean ad­vised peo­ple not to shoot at or scare rooks, be­cause if they got a fright they could scat­ter and form new rook­eries.

“We rely on help from the com­mu­nity to call us if they see any rooks or nest­ing sites be­tween now and Novem­ber, be­cause they are our eyes and ears on the ground.

‘‘ORC’s pest con­trol pro­gramme has re­duced the num­ber of rooks from hun­dreds at the peak to around 50.

‘‘Any­one who sees a rook or rook­ery just needs to give us a call and our rook erad­i­ca­tion staff will come and deal with them,” he said.

Peo­ple who see rooks in Otago are asked to con­tact ORC en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer Mal­colm Al­lan on 027 278 8498, or ORC at 0800 474 082 or info@orc.govt.nz.

Rooks are a pest due to the dam­age they cause to crops and grass.

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