Residents urged to report pests

Boyup Brook residents are being urged to look out for unusual birds following confirmed sightings of the declared pest, the house sparrow.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development biosecurity officer Darren Dixon said house sparrows were declared pests because they could cause serious damage to crops and compete with native birds.

“Public reports of serious pest birds such as the house sparrow play an important role in protecting Western Australia’s agriculture industries and environment,” Mr Dixon said.

“Reports enable department biosecurity officers to act quickly, undertake surveillance and remove the birds, preventing them from establishing in the wild.

“A male house sparrow was recently photographed in the town of Boyup Brook and reported by a community member to Blackwood Biosecurity Group.

“The group reported the sighting to the department for confirmation of its declared status and the bird was subsequently controlled the following day by landholders.

“The public report and quick action of the local biosecurity group is a good example of the community working together to stop pests.”

House sparrows are one of several declared birds that have established in other Australian states and territories but not Western Australia, thanks to the vigilance of community members looking out for unfamiliar species.

House sparrows are 11 to 16 centimetres long and look similar to finches.

The male has a grey head with chestnut at the back, white cheeks, and black throat/upper breast. Its chest is white, streaked with black, while female and immature birds are a light brown-tan.

Both male and female birds have brown wings streaked with black.

Mr Dixon said sparrows were often detected near seaports, after arriving in the state on ships from the Eastern States and South East Asia.

“People often find sparrows near where people live, particularly at backyard bird feeding sites and near aviaries, grain silos and cafes, and they’re identified by the way they hop around,” he said. 

For more information visit the department’s website, www.agric.wa.gov.au/birds/sparrows

Unusual birds should be reported to the Pest and Disease Information Service on 9368 3080, online at www.mypestguide.agric.wa.gov.au/reporter/#/ or via the MyPestGuide Reporter app.