Corella cull proposed in Murray Bridge | POLL

In a paddock just off the Princes Highway lie a dozen or more dead corellas.

There were apparently more early last week, but the RSPCA took some of the bodies away to make sure they had been killed humanely.

Shooting the native birds is perfectly legal outside townships, according to the state government's fauna permits unit, so long as the shooter does not cause them to suffer unnecessarily.

A permit is only needed if corellas are to be trapped or asphyxiated.

However, South Australia's code of practice for the humane destruction of birds by shooting does require shooters to collect dead birds and store them out of sight before disposing of their bodies.

The sight of them was enough to prompt a reader to contact The Standard.

Such is the sensitive nature of an issue the Murray Bridge council will grapple with in the lead-up to this summer.

Councillors voted earlier this month to establish a working party to plan for the 2017-18 corella season; and to cooperate with the Alexandrina council, which has had issues at Strathalbyn.

The working party's members will include Cr Jerry Wilson, council staff and "key external stakeholders".

Staff member Malcolm Downie also recommended $20,000 be spent culling or otherwise deterring "scout" birds before the arrival of larger flocks of corellas later this year, in the hope of keeping them away from Sturt Reserve and their other known haunts.

He advised there would be little point in culling the birds currently in the district, as they would soon depart for the winter anyway.

Councillors have not yet decided whether to go ahead with that plan.

At least one, Karen Eckermann, said she would not support a cull of a native species.

"Little corellas will be with us no matter what we do," she said at the council's May 8 meeting.

"We have to look at larger and longer-term ways to deal with that."

In a report to councillors, Mr Downie said it was evident that there was no quick-fix solution.

"A holistic, integrated approach to the management of little corellas needs to be undertaken," he said.

Over the next 10 years or more, that may mean modifying areas like Sturt Reserve by increasing the density of trees, adding more low native shrubs or reducing available water sources to discourage corellas from congregating there in such large numbers.

In March, a study of corellas in South Australia found they preferred green, irrigated spaces dotted with river red gums or pine trees.


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