Cricketers call for corella solution
District cricket leaders have weighed into debate surrounding long-billed corellas in Horsham by calling on municipal leaders to take a ‘more aggressive approach’.
Horsham Cricket Association secretary Darren Chesterfield said the use of remote-control drone aircraft to scare and break up corella flocks was doing little to deter the birds.
He said he would write on behalf of the association to Horsham Rural City Council asking for a stronger response in tackling the birds that were damaging sporting reserves and leaving club volunteers angry and frustrated.
Mr Chesterfield, also a cricket umpire, said discovering the birds attacking the turf wicket at Horsham City Oval on Saturday morning had emphasised how frustrating the issue was becoming.
“It was just a matter of chance that we spotted them. It was about 11am and they were only attacking the centre square. We usually put a heat mat down to protect the wicket but they had eaten through that,” he said.
“It would have only taken a couple more minutes of them being there and they could have brought a game of cricket undone. We can’t afford to be sitting down there all the time to stop birds from gathering.
“It’s getting more than a bit testing for many sporting clubs in Horsham and the efforts that volunteers are putting in to maintain their sporting surfaces. I imagine it would also be frustrating for the council’s garden staff members.”
Mr Chesterfield said he was unsure what the most appropriate approach was in dealing with the corella problem, but what was obvious was a need for greater action.
“What we know is that we need a more aggressive approach to dealing with pest corellas,” he said.
“As an association we don’t necessarily know the answers, but there needs to be something more aggressive than flying a drone around.
“When the jewel in our crown, the turf wicket at Horsham City Oval, looks like it has had hand grenades chucked on it, it’s time for the council to get more serious.
“People volunteering time and effort are getting sick and tired of it.”
Mr Chesterfield said the association, approaching finals, was keen for a resolution as soon as possible.
“Not just for cricket but for tennis and other community assets,” he said. “These birds are a real problem.” Gregarious long-billed corellas, among the most intelligent of Australian cockatoos, are native to western Victoria and southern NSW, but have also populated other areas of Australia.
Their habit of responding to environmental circumstances by congregating in large flocks and ‘cultivating’ turf, ‘pruning’ trees, raiding crops and using their large beaks to dismantle infrastructure has long presented a periodical problem for Wimmera authorities.
In the past the issue has polarised public opinion with people unhappy with the use of firearms or poison bait in Horsham, in contrast with others calling to kill the birds.
Costly contractor trapping and gassing of the birds has occurred in the past, which at the time prompted concerns of ecologists fearful of damage to the species’ genetic diversity.