Residents of Kings Cross, Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay, Rushcutters Bay and Woolloomooloo
Few people are aware that permission has been given to kill some of the cockatoos that flock around Potts Point and Kings Cross. When they find out about this cull – which has been approved by the NSW government – most local residents and visiting tourists are shocked.
The culling permit was sought by Potts Point buildings’ owner corporations earlier this year, when cockatoos were accused of damaging property. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and the City of Sydney Council worked with the complainants for several months, but the order to shoot and kill the cockatoos was approved in July. After protests and some attempts to find other deterrents – such as using chilli oil, flashing lights or shock tape on windowsills and other building protrusions – approval was finally given to capture and gas selected cockatoos.
Sulphur crested cockatoos are a highly recognisable and much loved native parrot. They are not endangered, but they are a protected species. They can live to 75 years of age and are monogamous. Their curved beaks are particularly strong, and cockatoos like to test and toughen these beaks on wooden twigs or branches – and yes, sometimes even windowsills.
A small number of flocks nest in the valleys between the Botanical Gardens and Paddington, and are well known to local residents. Visitors and locals alike are delighted to watch and interact with these distinctive birds. Unfortunately, it is this interaction that can cause some problems. Some residents encourage cockatoos to visit by regularly feeding them on their balconies and window boxes – and then when they cause damage, neighbours in the same building complain that they are pests.
There is ongoing debate about the effectiveness of culling as an effective deterrent to a flock’s behaviour. Rather than blaming the cockatoos, surely it would be more effective to educate residents and visitors about the implications of feeding and interacting with local wildlife?
We propose that an education campaign about how to co-exist with wildlife and environment in inner city Sydney would be a more effective strategy for managing nuisance cockatoo behaviour, than killing the birds.
We also call on NSW State Government and the City of Sydney Council to provide details about the number of cockatoos that have been culled so far.