Small bird, big nuisance in the Hunter

5 JUNE 2002

Finding ways to solve the considerable nuisance being caused to the Hunter Valley coal mining industry by a small bird is the aim of a new research project that is seeking submissions from the local community.

Finding ways to solve the considerable nuisance being caused to the Hunter Valley coal mining industry by a small bird is the aim of a new research project that is seeking submissions from the local community.

Despite its name, the Welcome Swallow is anything but welcome in the workshops of the Hunter Valley’s coal mining industry.

The Welcome Swallow, a small familiar bird that is closely associated with buildings and man made structures, is finding the large workshops of local coal mines a comfortable roosting place – in numbers ranging from hundreds to thousands.

The mess created by the birds, on workbenches, the floor and the occasional worker has created health, safety and productivity concerns for the industry.

A two year research project is now beginning to find humane ways of discouraging the birds from roosting in the buildings.

The project is a joint effort between Charles Sturt University (CSU), the mining companies and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Brian Stone, principal researcher for the project from Charles Sturt University’s Environmental Studies Unit, said the Welcome Swallow, a protected native species, has a distinct and valuable role in the Australian environment, hence the aim to find sensitive ways to discourage the birds from roosting in the workshops.

Researchers, who will be visiting the mines each month, are also keen to find out where the swallows go during the day, and would like to hear from anyone with information that may assist. 

“We would also be interested in hearing from anyone who knows if there are other large roosting sites in the district,” Mr Stone said.

Anyone with information about roosting sites of the Welcome Swallow in the Hunter Region should contact Brian Stone on (02) 6338 4825 or by email: bstone@csu.edu.au.

Postal submissions can be made to Brian Stone, Environmental Studies Unit, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, 2795.

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