Residents wary of threat to magpies at men’s shed site

A magpie on a tree at the Bassendean Men's Shed site on Thursday. Picture: David Baylis
A magpie on a tree at the Bassendean Men's Shed site on Thursday. Picture: David Baylis

FAUNA experts are inspecting a developing magpie nest on a mature tree that is earmarked for removal at the new Bassendean Men’s Shed site.

Experts were on the site on Thursday to reassess the tree on the corner of May Holman Drive and Railway Parade.

Ten trees, including high bush, sheoak and gum trees that range from 3m to 15m in height, will be lost as part of the development.

The Town of Bassendean has halted the removal of the trees, pending the results of the reassessment.

Volunteer bird rescuers and local residents Graeme King and Marlene Smith said in a joint statement, magpies were territorial and would be attacked if moved into another group’s territory.

“As the site is located adjacent to a Water Corporation drainage swale it provides an unusually rich habitat in an industrial area for birdlife as the water attracts insects while the trees provide habitat and natural cooling,” they said.

“Removing the trees and building a large shed with a tarmac carpark the size of the average house block will turn a diverse bush oasis into a hot sterile area devoid of birds.

“We feel that both the shed and trees can coexist and were hoping a compromise could be found.

“Spring is also the breeding season so is the worst time to clear trees.”

The Bassendean Men’s Shed site. Picture: David Baylis.

Bassendean resident Megan Longwill said there were magpies that used the trees on site.

“You cannot replace a mature tree with new plantings,” she said.

“Those mature trees are many years old and when a mature tree is that old, it provides holes and hiding places for little animals and bird nests.

“When you plant a tree, it is going to be 20 years before it is going to do good to anybody.”

Bassendean resident Caroline Easton said residents wanted the men’s shed to go ahead but wanted an outcome that also retained mature trees.

The trees at the men’s shed site. Picture: David Baylis.

Mayor Renee McLennan said any tree removal had been paused until there was confirmation and further advice from the fauna experts.

“Concerns have been raised about the possibility of local magpies nesting on the site where the men’s shed will be built and the potential to negatively impact them when trees are removed to accommodate the planned construction,” she said.

“I share these concerns and can confirm that the commencement of tree removal to accommodate site works was put on hold until a fauna assessment had been completed.

“The assessment has revealed that, although there is a colony of magpies in the area, no evidence has been found of an active nest in the trees that will be removed.

“A partially completed nest has been located and, although suspected to be abandoned, is being monitored to ensure that it is not currently being used.”

Bassendean Men’s Shed secretary Clive Brown said the men’s shed always wanted to be protective of bird species and appreciated trees.

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