Mandurah: City defends clearing nests from Moreton Bay fig tree at Stingray Point


The fig tree at Stingray Point that is a nesting site for cormorants.
The fig tree at Stingray Point that is a nesting site for cormorants.

CITY of Mandurah has defended its actions following complaints it was knocking nests from the Moreton Bay fig tree on Stingray Point.

Earlier this week, a resident said on Facebook she found it sickening the council had engaged contractors to knock birds’ nests from the iconic tree it referred to as an important nesting ground for water birds.

“That a contractor had accepted money to slaughter baby birds by knocking their homes to the ground was simply sadistic,” she said.

City chief executive Mark Newman said the City had a program in place to ensure the health of the tree and said bird droppings beneath the tree caused by nesting birds contained phosphate that burned the tree.

“The problem is a concern for the City and we are dedicated to working towards a solution,’’ he said.

Mr Newman said certain species of cormorant used the tree as a breeding ground that had resulted in excessive nesting.

He said the Department of Environment and Conservation had advised the City to remove the nests once the breeding season had ended.

The City had engaged a contractor to remove some nests in the tree but work stopped immediately once a number of eggs were found and will resume towards the end of the year.

Mr Newman hoped a balance could be reached between protecting the tree, providing a suitable breeding habitat for a reasonable number of birds and preventing any public health issues from arising.

Due to a number of public amenity factors at the site, including large amounts of bird droppings, associated bad smells and complaints from the community, in 2012 the Department granted approval to the City to remove nests, encouraging the birds to use nearby trees.