Should we cull noisy miners? After decades of research, these aggressive honeyeaters are still outsmarting us

Date: 13, Oct, 2021
Author(s):   Melton, C., Reside, A., Simmonds, J., Maron, M., Clarke, M., McDonald, P.
Publisher: The Conversation

Noisy miners are familiar to many of us on Australia’s east coast as plucky grey birds relentlessly harassing other birds, dive-bombing dogs and people – even expertly opening sugar packets at your local café.

Noisy miners are native to Australia. Since colonisation their populations have boomed, and they’re now so abundant they pose a threat to other native birds in our cities, farmland and bush, such as robins, thornbills and other honeyeaters.

Culling noisy miners is often touted as a way to deal with the problem, but given the birds are native, it’s a controversial proposition. And so far, attempts to remove noisy miners have had mixed success.

To help land managers assess whether culls are likely to be effective and justified, our new research sought to understand how, and in what situations, culling helps small birds, such as the iconic superb fairy-wren, return to a site.