Noisy Miners

Noisy MinerNoisy Minors (Manorina melanocephala)

Other common names: Micky, Noisy Mynah, Squeaker, Soldier-bird.

Physical description

  • A bold and curious bird with an average length of 25cm.
  • Black markings extend from the crown down over the ears and the sides of the throat. The head and back is grey with darker mottling across the shoulders.
  • White underparts with grey mottling on the breast and throat.
  • The feet, beak and skin patch behind the eye are distinctly yellow in colour.
  • Juveniles have bolder markings than adults.

Ecology

  • Common and widespread throughout eastern Australia from the Mount Lofty Ranges in South Australia to the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland.
  • Occupy dry open eucalypt woodlands and forests taking advantage of modified environments such as parks and gardens. Prefer areas with clear to sporadic understorey vegetation.
  • Opportunistic feeder on nectar producing plants, fruit, grains and insects.
  • Live in colonies and aggressively defend their territory, harassing and chasing away any invaders.
  • Limit biodiversity of smaller bird species in suburban areas due to their aggressive nature.

Breeding

  • Breeding occurs early in Queensland from June to December, and later in the southern states. Usually breed once, sometimes twice in a season.
  • Nests are constructed in a suitable fork in a tree or amongst foliage. The height can vary depending on the size of the trees in the surrounding area. The loosely constructed nest consists of dry twigs, grasses and bark bound by spider's webbing, which can be lined with fine grasses, hair and soft plants.
  • The eggs are approximately 27mm x 18mm and are laid in clutches of 2 to 4. Creamy-white, lustrous and oval in appearance, with bold red markings over the surface of the egg.
  • Incubation last for approximately 15 days, with young fledging at 16 days after hatching.
  • Breeding is a communal event within the colony, with all members helping to rear young.

Surburn Noisy Miners

  • Habitat modification in suburban areas has assisted the life history requirements of Noisy Miner species. Areas which may have previously housed a few individuals are now able to support higher densities of birds.
  • Being opportunistic, they will take advantage of seed left for other native bird species such as parrots and finches, and thus encouraging them to remain in an area.
  • Due to their territorial nature, they will attempt to drive away anything which they feel is a threat to their nest and or chicks.
  • Noisy miners are known to have caused facial injuries when swooping in a number of cases in recent times.

So what can you do to try and deter a swooping Noisy Miner in your area?

  • Noisy Miners are a protected species under Australian law and attempts to harm or kill these birds are illegal. These birds are merely protecting there young from a perceived intruder in much the same we would our own children.
  • Don't feed the birds. It is commonly believed that by feeding these birds they become friendly and won't become a nuisance. The truth is it encourages other animals into the area to take advantage of a free feed.
  • Avoid the area. If there is an alternate way of getting to work, going to the shops or taking the kids to school then use it instead. It's a small price to pay when considering a potential injury.
  • Where possible keep your eye on the bird. In most cases the bird will not swoop and make contact if it sees you are watching. If the bird does approach the simple waving of an arm will deter it from making physical contact.
  • Carrying a hat, umbrella or alternate object which you can hold above you head can help in deterring birds from swooping. Walking in a group can also be a great tactic.
  • Placing eyespots on your bike helmet, wearing sunglasses on the back of your head or keeping the bird in eye contact may in some cases help prevent swooping. Like all swooping birds Miners utilise the element of a surprise attack when you're not looking. Therefore maintaining eye contact, or the illusion that you are, may as previously mentioned aid in deterring them.
  • Don't harass the birds, as this can make them more aggressive and more likely to injury someone else.
  • Informing your local council and having them erect signs is a great way of informing residents of swooping birds in the area so they are aware of the temporary risk.

Advice & Relocation

If your best efforts of deterring the bird fail then further advice or relocation may be your last resort. Ecologically-minded advice, specialist trapping requirements, and ecologically sound translocation methods are employed by licensed professionals for effective noisy miner relocation.

Trapping & relocation of the bird is done in accordance with requirements stipulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and permits are issued after stringent examination as to knowledge and suitability to actively manage conflict birds.

Every effort is made to ensure the birds are managed as to welfare, and to minimize any possible harm whilst being trapped, upon trapping, and through transit to a suitable release site