Finding some peace from noisy miners

Thursday, October 11, 2018 — Researchers from The Australian National University are saving the critically endangered regent honeyeater from the threat posed by noisy miners.

While mildly irritating to humans, noisy miners are a major threat as they aggressively force out regent honeyeaters and other small birds from their colonies.

Lead author Ross Crates from the Difficult Bird Research Group said noisy miners are a threat to biodiversity and thrive in the built environments created by humans.

“Noisy miners prefer habitats like parklands and scattered trees in paddocks. Land clearing has made these habitats abundant,” Mr Crates said.

“Additionally, almost everywhere regent honeyeaters breed is also suitable habitat for noisy miners.”

To help reduce the impact of noisy miners on regent honeyeaters, the research team trailed a local scale control program at a critical breeding site where honeyeaters were nesting and noisy miners were invading.

“We watched breeding birds repeatedly fight off noisy miners while they were trying to feed their chicks,” Mr Crates said.

“So we removed 350 noisy miners from the area and within two days, there were six honeyeaters nests with five juveniles, which is an important boost to this endangered population.

“Removing noisy miners is only a short-term solution. We need to protect and restore the habitat so honeyeaters have more options to nest, away from noisy miners,” Mr Crates said.

The research was published in the journal Biological Conservation

For interview:

Ross Crates

Difficult Bird Research Group

Australian National University

P: 0410 184 867

E: ross.crates@anu.edu.au 

For media assistance, contact Jo Meehan +61 436 605 635 or the ANU Media Team on +61 2 6125 7979 or at <media@anu.edu.au>.

Adult regent honeyeater feeding two recently-fledged juveniles. Photo by Mick Roderick