Rainbow lorikeets return to swan valley
24 June 2009
The Department of Agriculture and Food is reminding grape growers to keep controlling rainbow lorikeets after a significant number of the pest birds were reported recently in the Swan Valley.
Large numbers of lorikeets have been seen feeding on leftover grapes in vineyards and resting in nearby trees.
Department project manager Marion Massam said after a fairly quiet period last season, it appeared the birds had returned to the valley, attracted by flowering trees and leftover grapes.
?It is important for growers and landholders to continue to control these birds to minimise potential damage to fruit in future seasons,? Ms Massam said.
?Managing the lorikeets by using techniques including shooting, will not only reduce bird numbers but also make the birds associate danger with human activity in the vineyards.?
Grape Growers Association of WA president Darryl Trease said a Declared Species Group has been formed by Swan Valley producers with the help of the department.
A contractor working for the Declared Species Group, and a Department of Environment and Conservation officer, reported the large number of birds in the area.
?The Declared Species Group has enabled us to coordinate control efforts and engage an expert to assist in managing the problem,? Mr Trease said.
?While lorikeets may not be causing economic damage at present - because the grape production season has past - it is important to prevent them associating the area with food.?
The lorikeets have most likely been attracted to the fruit remaining on the vines following last season, which may help to sustain them until loquats and next year?s grapes ripen.
?Taking some action now will help reduce the potential for lorikeet damage in the fruit growing season,? Mr Trease said.
?Left-over fruit hanging on vines also increases the risk that diseases, such as botrytis and powdery mildew, will spread, as well adding to or creating significant fruitfly problems.?
The Department of Agriculture and Food advises landholders to keep a record of the number of lorikeets they remove to add to data on birds removed from major roosts in Perth, as part of the ongoing management strategy.
Ms Massam said lorikeets could be shot legally on private land throughout the South West Land Division without the need to obtain a damage licence.
?It is important however for landholders to notify both neighbours and police of the intended time and date of shooting to allay any concerns,? she said.
For further information about rainbow lorikeets and to report sightings contact the Department of Agriculture and Food?s Pest and Disease Information Service on freecall 1800 084 881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.agric.wa.gov.au
Rainbow lorikeets are a declared species in WA.
Marion Massam, project manager 0427 778 313
Darryl Trease, Grape Growers Association, president, 0418 917 513
Katrina Bonser/Lisa Bertram, media liaison, 9368 3937/9368 3325
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