2006 January: Bird Deaths Blackall’s Park

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Warning Over Bird Slaughter

Newcastle Herald Friday January 20, 2006

PESTICIDE poisoning is behind the deaths of more than 70 native birds in Blackalls Park since last month.

The NSW Department of Environment and Conservation confirmed the poisonings and alerted Lake Macquarie residents yesterday in a letter drop.

The Herald reported that the department conducted autopsies after 63 corellas, four magpies and two wood ducks were found dead.

Blackalls Park resident Jo Wicks said that since those deaths were reported, neighbours had found about six sick or dead birds a day.

“That stopped about a week ago and just started again,” Ms Wicks said.

She also said that another dead bird had been found yesterday at a neighbour’s property.

Department Hunter regional manager Grahame Clarke said the dead birds found more recently were all corellas.

He could not say if the poisoning was continuing or deliberate because the investigation was still under way.

However, a department spokeswoman said the case will be pursued under the Pesticides Act, which made it an offence “to wilfully use a pesticide contrary to approved label directions”.

She said the department would not reveal which pesticide had killed the birds, to avoid any copycat acts.

Mr Clarke said the department had interviewed some people but made the information public yesterday to urge people to come forward with any leads, and to issue a warning.

“Heavy fines can be imposed by the courts for offences committed under the Pesticides Act,” the letter said. Mr Clarke also warned it was an offence under the National Parks and Wildlife Act to harm protected fauna.

People with any information are urged to contact department pesticide officer Brian Curtain on 4908 6804. Calls will remain confidential.