27 September 2023

Sweet support for rare Honeyeaters

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Photo: Mick Roderick

The critically endangered Regent Honeyeater (pictured) is under threat from noisy miners according to researchers at the Australian National University.

While mildly irritating to humans, noisy miners aggressively force out regent honeyeaters and other small birds from their colonies.

Lead author of the ANU research, Ross Crates from the Difficult Bird Research Group said noisy miners were a danger to biodiversity and thrived 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.”

He said that to help reduce the impact of noisy miners on regent honeyeaters, the research team trialled a 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,” he said.

“We need to protect and restore the habitat so honeyeaters have more options to nest, away from noisy miners,” Mr Crates said.

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