'Should be ashamed': Sydney council slammed over bird spikes in trees

·Environment Editor
·2-min read

Is the sight of a bird roosting in the branch of a tree something to be enjoyed and admired?

According to one NSW council, the answer appears to be no.

An image shared to Yahoo News Australia of plastic bird spikes fastened to a gum tree to deter birds is causing outrage online.

Campbelltown City Council have been urged to remove spikes from trees in Ingleburn. Source: Supplied
Campbelltown City Council have been urged to remove spikes from trees in Ingleburn. Source: Supplied

Wildlife carer Ricardo Lonza, who noticed the tree in the main street of Ingleburn, in Sydney’s southwest, said those responsible should urgently remove them.

“We don’t know who installed these but whoever did should be ashamed,” he wrote on Facebook.

Concern wildlife habitat shrinking across Campbelltown

This is not the first time Campbelltown City Council has been criticised by locals for their decisions regarding the local environment.

Last week, Yahoo News Australia reported on their approval to destroy scores of trees with hollows at a development site.

The region is also home to LendLease's controversial Figtree Hill development which is contributing to the loss of significant koala habitat, after it was approved by local, state and Commonwealth authorities.

Mr Lonza warns the space wildlife has to enjoy across the entire Campbelltown/Macarthur region is shrinking, and what remains should be available to native animals and birds.

The district is home to NSW's last chlamydia-free population of koalas, but their home range is rapidly shrinking due to development, and every tree counts.

The strip of trees was removed on the development site, to the anger of locals. Source: Supplied
The strip of trees was removed on the development site, to the anger of locals. Source: Supplied

That's why when it comes to the tree spikes, Mr Lonza is looking at how this one issue fits into the big picture, and what other wildlife they could affect other than birds.

“Around a kilometre up the road there was a koala… possums too might want to go in the tree,” he said.

“They’re pretty serious spikes.”

Council justifies use of spikes on trees

Campbelltown City Council confirmed in a statement they installed the spikes in 2020, following “several complaints from the community and public hygiene concerns about bird faeces”.

Tree clearing killed around 87 million animals in NSW between 1998 and 2015. Source: WWF-Australia
Tree clearing killed around 87 million animals in NSW between 1998 and 2015. Source: WWF-Australia

The council's director of city delivery, Kevin Lynch, said ibis were singled out and held responsible for defecating “on park benches and in eating areas” across the Ingleburn CBD.

Despite concerns from the public about the spikes potentially causing harm to wildlife, Mr Lynch said council have not received any such reports.

“The use of plastic spikes is a commonly accepted and wildlife-friendly practice for managing birds in an urban environment,” he said.

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