Identifying corridors, refuges and entry points for starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, at an invasion front

Lead researcher: Dr Susan Campbell, Department of Agriculture and Food WA,  scampbell@agric.wa.gov.au

In a bid to prevent the establishment of one of the World’s top 100 worst invasive species, the West Australian Government has facilitated starling (Sturnus vulgaris) control operations in the southern coastal region of this State since the 1970s. Consequently, the number of starlings established in Western Australia (WA) remains low. Ongoing research coupled with sustained control aims to facilitate rapid response to new incursions. However, efficiently detecting cryptic, wary starlings that are present at low density in a challenging and expansive field environment presents a significant challenge to the starling control program.

Through the support of the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the West Australian Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), the South Coast Natural Resource Management organisation (SCNRM) and the University of Auckland investigated the application of remote audio detection technology to the starling program. Twelve consecutive months of field recordings were successfully collected from strategic locations on the south coast. To efficiently scan through this large volume of data, researchers from the University of Auckland developed an automated software filter to detect potential starling calls. Currently, this software has a high success rate (> 76%) for detecting starling calls amongst background recordings and is now available for use by the DAFWA for future remote surveillance.

This project was funded under the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP).
For more APARP projects, visit: www.pestsmart.org.au/australian-pest-animal-research-program/

Author Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP)
Secondary Author Susan Campbell, Andrew Woolnough, Stuart parsons, Victor Obolonkin, Matthew Kennewell
Year 2013
Volume 2009-10
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food WA
Region WA
Documents

Download full report: Identifying corridors, refuges and entry points for starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, at an invasion front [ 1.8Mb PDF ]

Links