2016 September: Birds poisoned at Budgewoi and Warnerville NSW. Pesticide: Fenitrothion

EPA, council seeking information to catch bird killer at Budgewoi and Warnervale

September 28, 2016

The NSW Environment Protection Authority has received reports of dozens of bird deaths at Warnervale and Budgewoi.

EPA acting director Hunter Karen Marler said the bird deaths were disturbing and the EPA was investigating with Central Coast Council.

“The EPA received reports of dead corellas at Warnervale and dead magpies at Budgewoi over the past two weeks,” Ms Marler said.

“Officers from the EPA and council inspected the areas and collected dead birds of different species for analysis at the EPA’s laboratories in Sydney.

“Preliminary results indicate the birds have been poisoned with the same pesticide, fenamiphos. This pesticide is not readily available to the public.

“The EPA conducted a letterbox drop to local residents in both areas seeking any information that may assist the EPA’s investigation.”

Ms Marler said the EPA received video evidence of the birds being poisoned by a member of the public on Monday.

“The EPA has reviewed the footage which appears to show a dark-coloured Ford Ranger with the driver appearing to throw an object out of the moving vehicle.

“The video footage is distressing — it shows magpies and other birds flying to the meat and then becoming severely affected within minutes of ingesting the poison. Dead magpies are visible on the road verge and birds can be seen falling out of trees as they succumb to the poison.

“An EPA officer attended the scene on Monday and found numerous pieces of meat, which smelt strongly of pesticide, in the area seen in the footage.”

Central Coast Council’s noxious weeds and pest species officer Paul Marynissen said it was distressing to see so many native birds being attacked.

“We’ve received a number of reports of many dead birds who have eaten this poisoned meat.

“Residents living in the Budgewoi, Warnervale and Woongarrah areas, also need to keep an eye on their pets and make sure they don’t eat anything foreign when on their daily walks. This poisoned meat is not only harmful to our local birds but also our pets and children,” Mr Marynissen said.

The EPA has provided information taken from the video footage to both the NSW Police and the RSPCA and is conducting its own investigations.

It is an offence under the EPA’s legislation to use pesticides in a manner that harms non-target animals. The maximum penalties for this are $120,000 for an individual. It is also an offence to cause danger or harm to an animal by littering and maximum penalties are $3300.

The EPA and Central Coast Council is appealing for people to come forward with information which may assist. They are particularly interested in hearing from the owner of the dark coloured Ford Ranger seen in the vicinity of Highberry St, Woongarrah, on Saturday, September 24.

Details: EPA Environment Line on 131 555.