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Native Animals and Threatened Species

Sometimes our native neighbours can be friendlier than we would like.  

It is important to remember they while many native animals can be annoying, they are protected by law.

It is important that we are able to live with our local animals and to find solutions that suit both our needs.

Threatened animal species
In 1984 Nordstrom undertook a bird survey that identified 207 bird species of which 25% were rare to Bankstown. This survey was repeated in 1997 by Nordstrom, Mackay and others, at which time they recorded 232 bird species in Bankstown. Forty species of birds have increased their range and population since 1984 and thirty species of birds have not been recorded since 1984. This overall increase in bird species may be the result of both the ongoing native tree planting program in Council parks and the increased popularity of native plants in private gardens.
 
The greatest diversity of bird species is found where there are extensive bushland reserves and corridors, such as the Kelso Creek (76%) and Georges River (75%) catchments. Where there is a lack of native vegetation in Bankstown's northern suburbs, the lowest bird species diversity is recorded in the Duck River catchment (22%).
 
23 bird species have been listed by the NPWS as regionally significant species, seven of which are listed on the China-Australia Migratory Birds Agreement (CAMBA) and the Japan-Australia Migratory Birds Agreement (JAMBA). Additionally, two endangered and eight vulnerable bird species listed under the NSW Threatened Species Act have been sighted in Bankstown by Nordstrom and Mackay, these are listed below:
  • Australasian Bittern (vulnerable);
  • Black Bittern (vulnerable)​;
  • Black-chinned Honeyeater (vulnerable);
  • Bush Stone-Curlew (endangered);
  • Flesh-footed Shearwater (vulnerable);
  • Freckled Duck (vulnerable);
  • Glossy Black Cockatoo (vulnerable);
  • Olive Whistler (vulnerable);
  • Osprey (vulnerable);
  • Pink Robin (vulnerable);
  • Powerful Owl (vulnerable);
  • Regent Honeyeater (endangered);
  • Speckled Warbler (vulnerable);
  • Square-tailed Kite (vulnerable);
  • Swift Parrot (endangered); and 
  • Turquoise parrot (vulnerable).

Importance of native bees and pollinators

Pollinators such as bees and insects provide essential ecosystem services, they are responsible for the majority of the pollination of flowering plants, both in urban and rural areas.
Australia has around 1,700 species of native bees. Most of these are solitary bees. Meaning that they do not have queens and workers. Just one female mates with a male and then builds an individual nest for her eggs. Key species of solitary bees you can find in your yard are Blue Banded Bees, Resin Bees, Leafcutter Bees and Teddy Bear Bees.

Australia also has 11 species of social native bees. One local to our area is the native bee Tetragonula carbonari. It is a small, black stingless bee that helps pollinate plants, especially native plants. Tetragonula can be kept in a hive in your garden and are a fantastic asset. They pollinate plants that are close to their hive, they do not sting, and they can display fascinating behaviour. By supporting native bee populations, we can assist the maintenance of an essential pollination service. To learn more about these fascinating insects visit Sugarbag Bees.

Bee friendly gardens

You can help support native bee populations by planting bee friendly gardens in your yard. Click here to download recommendations for pollinator plants from the Australian Native Plant Society. You can also check out our Native Garden Guide. This guide can assist you with choosing the right plants for your yard.

You can also set up a bee hotel to encourage native bees to your garden. This helps to create a safe place for solitary bees to nest.

Bees in schools

Since 2018 more than 18 Tetragonula carbonari native bee hives have been placed in schools throughout Canterbury-Bankstown as part of our native bee program. This program assists with increasing native bee numbers in our area, assists the gardens at the schools to thrive as well as hands-on learning about bees!


Check out the video below of a hive that was re-homed to Canterbury South Public School.

 

We are currently not placing hives in schools. If you would like to express your interest, please contact tarah.slattery@cbcity.nsw.gov.au

Domestic honey bees are not native to Australia but are often kept on public and private lands for honey production and pollination of food crops and fruit trees. Regulation for the keeping of domestic honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the City of Canterbury Bankstown is outlined in the Local Orders Policy.

Contact

For more information, call Council's Customer Service Centre on 9707 9000.

  • Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) is listed as an endangered species under the Threatened Species Conservation Act (TSCA) and has been recorded at Coxs Creek, Greenacre.​
  • Common Bent-wing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii) is listed as a vulnerable species under the TSCA and has been recorded as roosting at Potts Hill Reservoir. 
  • Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) is listed as a vulnerable species under the TSC Act and is known to occur in the Bankstown area. 
  • Cumberland Plain Large Land Snail (Meridolum corneovirens) is listed as an endangered species under the TSCA and is also known to occur in the Bankstown area. 
Native animals

Spring is the time to be alert, but not alarmed, about swooping birds.

A number of native bird species are territorial. Magpies, butcherbirds, noisy miners and masked lapwings (plovers), establish and protect a territory during the breeding season. They may act aggressively toward other birds, domestic pets and people they perceive as threats to their nests and chicks.

For most of the year these birds are not aggressive, but for a few weeks while they are nesting, they can defend their territory vigorously. People walking past may be seen as 'invaders' of the territory, prompting the bird to fly low and fast over the person, clacking their bills as they pass overhead. The experience of a bird swooping can be quite alarming, but it’s usually only a warning. Only occasionally will a bird actually strike the intruder on the head with its beak or claws.

If a bird swoops:

  • Walk quickly and carefully away from the area, and avoid walking there when birds are swooping.
  • Walk in groups where possible as the birds often target individuals.
  • Try to keep an eye on the bird while walking carefully away. These birds are less likely to swoop if you look at them.
  • Carry an open umbrella, stick or small branch above your head, but do not swing it as this will only provoke the bird to attack.
  • If you are riding a bicycle, get off it and wheel it quickly through the area. Your bicycle helmet will protect your head, and you can attach a tall red safety flag to your bicycle or hold a stick or branch as a deterrent.

Find out more

Australian White Ibis, Threskiornis molucca, is a native Australian bird which can be found all across our local government area. These birds are protected under section 98 of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
The Australian White Ibis is identified by its almost entirely white body plumage and black head and neck. The head is featherless and its black bill is long and down-curved. During the breeding season the small patch of skin on the under-surface of the wing changes from dull pink to dark scarlet.
Many waterbirds including Ibis travel great distances in search of suitable freshwater wetlands and estuaries. Preferred habitats include swamps, lagoons and floodplains. The main traditional breeding locations are in central and northern NSW and include the Macquarie Marshes and Gwydir Wetlands.
Land clearing, overgrazing of marshlands and prolonged drought have caused the collapse of traditional breeding areas for many NSW waterbirds. With loss of natural inland wetlands many birds have moved to places where water and food are available and more predictable.
Ibis have become successful inhabitants of urban parks and gardens and are now part of the urban environment. Since the 1980’s there have been increases at locations along the eastern coast. In Sydney Ibis have established breeding colonies in the Royal Botanic Gardens and Centennial Parklands, at Lake Gillawarna, Cabramatta Creek and Mount Annan.
The main reasons Ibis are attracted to urban areas include:
  • Ready supply of food sources including landfill sites and human litter; 
     
  • Easy access to fresh water, including artificial wetlands and lakes; 
     
  • Availability of suitable nesting and roosting trees in parklands; 
     
  • Few natural predators; and 
     
  • Intentional feeding by people.
     
Naturally Ibis eat terrestrial (land) and aquatic (water) invertebrates. The most favoured foods are crayfish and mussels, which the bird obtains by digging with its long bill. Mussels are opened by hammering them on a hard surface to reveal the soft body inside. In urban areas Ibis are also seen foraging for food scraps discarded by people. The success of Ibis in urban areas is largely due to easy availability of urban landfills for food. They can easily cover the distances between landfills and breeding locations each day.

What is Council doing?

​Council is very limited in its ability to intervene with the breeding of Ibis. The Australian White Ibis are a protected native species – mass removal or eradication of the birds is not permitted.
Council has consulted with members of the community and the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to develop a plan for the management of Ibis. The aim of the plan is to promote a better ecological balance and reduce the impacts of Ibis on the surrounding residents, park users and other species. The plan consists of a number of prioritised actions including habitat modification, nest and egg removal, monitoring and community education.
Monitoring is vital to the success of any management plan and will help increase our knowledge of the Ibis. Numbers have fluctuated over the past few years but have never reached the high numbers seen in 2003 & 2004.
Successfully managing Ibis will require a persistent, long-term and adaptive approach. Council is committed to achieving the most sustainable outcome for the local natural environment, community and local residents.
Council regularly surveys Ibis breeding and roosting locations to monitor their impact. When necessary, Council undertakes actions to mitigate Ibis impacts.​

What can you do?

There are a few things that you can do to help us manage the ibis. The most important is to not feed birds (even if the food is not intended for the ibis). Feeding birds is harmful to them and encourages antisocial behaviours, increasing the risk that they will bite you in an attempt to get more food. Littering is a great food source for the ibis. Please ensure that all litter and food scrap are disposed of properly and that bin lids are closed. You can also encourage other native wildlife into your garden by planting native plants.

More information

To find out more about what Council is doing, read the Australian White Ibis M​anagement Plan.

Cont​act

For more information, contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 9707 9000. 
Did you know that we have our very own Grey-Headed Flying Fox (GHFF) Colony in Wolli Creek? These guys used to number in the millions, but now there are thought to only be 400,000 left in the wild, which isn't many compared to the 23.5 million people living in Australia! They are protected under Federal and State Legislation. GHFFs are also known as Fruit Bats, but their favourite food is actually nectar from our native trees. This makes them an important species as they are long-distance pollinators and keep all our native trees growing strong.​

What to do if you see an injured GHFF

If you see an injured GHFF, do not touch it. Contact WIRES on 13 00 094 737 or Sydney Wildlife 9413 4300 immediately. A friendly and knowledgeable volunteer will come out to rescue the animal.

​Damage to fruit trees

If you like to grow your own fruit and vegetables, you may have noticed that your delicious yield can fall prey to the occasional bird or flying fox. Although they do prefer nectar from our native trees, they are attracted to our backyards because much of their habitat has been removed.
​If GHFFs are attracted to your garden, and you don’t have fruit to spare, it is important to use wildlife friendly netting and to secure it tightly. Loose nets with large mesh (anything over 20mm) are a danger to flying foxes - GHFFs will become tangled which can cause terrible injuries and painful deaths. If you net your trees correctly, you will successfully protect your fruit and our grey headed flying foxes.
Always use durable materials - nylon should never be used, as it causes injuries even when stretched tightly. Use white netting, with mesh size less than 20mm (always use netting that you can’t fit a finger through!) and either secure it tightly at the trunk or construct a frame at least 1 metre around the tree that nets can be tightly stretched around.
Alternatively, use brown paper bags to tie around ripening fruit. These must be changed when wet.

Noise, smell and mess

GHFFs are protected native animals and are listed as a vulnerable species in both NSW and across Australia. Flying-fox camps cannot be disturbed or relocated without prior approval from the NSW Government. ​
Although night time visits can cause a nuisance for residents, be aware that their visits are short-lived and will cease once the plant has finished fruiting or flowering (usually only a few weeks). Temporary measures, such as using car covers and taking clothes of the line at night, should be implemented whilst flying-foxes are feeding nearby.

Disease risk

Like all wild animals, flying-foxes carry diseases but the risk of transmitting these to humans is extremely low. The NSW Government provides the following explanation about the diseases carried by flying-foxes:
Lyssavirus is extremely rare and preventable. It is only transmitted by flying-fox saliva coming into contact with an open wound or mucus membrane such as the eyes, nose or mouth. It is not spread through droppings or urine, so you are not exposed to the virus if a flying-fox flies overhead, feeds or roosts in your garden, or if you live near a camp or visit one.
Hendra virus outbreaks are very rare. There is no evidence that humans can catch Hendra virus directly from flying-foxes. Hendra virus may be transmitted from flying-foxes to horses and it is possible for humans to contract it from infected horses. ​

More information

To find out more about living with GHFFs, visit the Sydney Bats websites.

Cont​act

For more information, contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 9707 9000

There are 140 species of land-based snakes in Australia, 100 of which are venomous while 12 can inflict a potentially life-threatening bite. Snakes are not usually aggressive and will only attack if injured or provoked. In fact, most bites occur when people try to catch or kill a snake, or they are attacked by pets such as dogs or cats. Snakes naturally occur in our City and can be in our parks and around waterways. They are particularly visible from October-March when they are basking in the sun or on warm surfaces. Snakes are a part of our healthy ecosystem, but it is important to know what to do if you see one. 
 

What to do if you see a snake

  • Remain calm and walk away
  • Do not threaten, disturb, annoy or throw anything at the snake
  • Secure all pets or keep them on a lead
  • Keep children away from the snake 
     
If you want to learn more, Council will be hosting a series of snake awareness seminars. To register your interest or to find out more, email cleanandgreen@cbcity.nsw.gov.au
 

What to do if someone is bitten by a snake

  • All snake bites must be treated as potentially life-threatening, even if the bite marks appear superficial. If you are bitten by a snake, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance
  • Get the person away from the snake
  • Ensure they remain as still as possible, are sitting or lying down and help them to stay calm
  • Apply pressure or a pressure immobilisation bandage 
  • Don’t wash the bite area – venom left on the skin can help identify the snake

For more information on what to do for a snake bite, please visit the health direct website
 

Contact ​

Snakes are best left alone, but if you find a snake in your home or backyard and would like it removed, please contact a licenced snake catcher.
 
If you see a snake you’re concerned about in a Council location, please contact us and we’ll do out best to help.  

The City of Canterbury Bankstown is home to a wide range of animal (otherwise known as fauna) species. The number of different bird species, in particular is amazing considering the largely urban and developed nature of the area. This diversity is largely due to a variety of available habitats such as bushland, creeks and other open areas. 

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service maintain a NSW Wildlife Atlas. This atlas contains recorded sightings of plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and endangered invertebrates in New South Wales. From the atlas you can obtain a list of all the animal sightings in the area.  

​Threats to native animals

A number of factors threaten the survival of our native birds and animals, including:
  • Loss of suitable habitat including removal of dead wood and trees with hollows;
  • Pollution of the natural environment;
  • Invasion of bushland by introduced plant species (weeds);
  • Attack by, or competition with, feral animals;
  • Attack by domestic pets, allowed to roam free (please keep your cats in at night and dogs on a lead when in bushland areas); and ​
  • Loss of appropriate food sources - occurring both through loss of natural bushland and planting of species in gardens that are not native to the area.

​Protecting our native animals

How to be a 'backyard buddy'

Many people find nothing more rewarding than having native animals visit or make their home in their backyard. All you have to do to be a backyard buddy is make sure your garden is safe and attractive to native animals. Visit the Backyard Bud​dies website for some easy tips and hints on how to attract animals like Blue-tongue lizards, frogs, tawny frogmouths and fairy wrens to your backyard.

​Sick, injured or orphaned native animals

If you find an injured, sick or orphaned native animal, you are not allowed to keep it as a pet. These animals need a trained expert and specialised care if they are to be returned to the wild. WIRES - The NSW Wildlife Information and Rescue Service is the largest wildlife rescue service in Australia. If you find an injured or orphaned native animal, handle it as little as possible, follow WIRES animal first aid​ and call WIRES Sydney Rescue Line on (02) 8977 3333. WIRES will organise rescue, veterinary help, foster care and finally release the animal back into the wild.

​Do not feed our wildlife

Our native animals are beautiful wild creatures. They rely on the environment for all their food, water and shelter. Although you may not realise it, there is natural habitat in Canterbury Bankstown for wildlife to forage in, providing lots of food. Our native animals do not need our help finding food. There are many reasons why we shouldn't feed wildlife. Not only is it bad for their health, but it can also have an impact on our own health and safety.

Contact

For more information, contact Council's Natural Resource Management team on 9707 9000. 
Our native animals are beautiful wild creatures. They rely on the environment for all their food, water and shelter. Although you may not realise it, there is natural habitat in our City for wildlife to forage in, providing lots of food. Our native animals do not need our help finding food.
​There are many reasons why we shouldn't feed wildlife. Not only is it bad for their health, but it can also have an impact on our own health and safety.

​Why is it bad?

Feeding harms wildlife

Many people enjoy feeding wildlife and believe that they are helping our animals.
In fact feeding wildlife does more harm than good, including:
  • It can make animals sick. Human food, particularly bread, can be very unhealthy for wildlife. This is because these foods are often low in nutrition. Bread and other human food is a fast food option for wildlife. If these foods are eaten too often animals will become sluggish and malnourished. 
  • It makes animals lazy. Human food is a quick and easy option for animals. Over time they become dependent on artificial food sources and lose their ability to forage for natural food. Young animals may not be taught how to forage naturally and therefore risk starvation and malnutrition. 
  • It increases their risk of predation. Leftover food can attract pests and vermin, like foxes, that may also prey on young animals. 
  • It encourages non-native animals into the area. Other animals compete for natural resources with our native animals and may aggressively chase native species out of the area.  
     

​Feeding harms our environment

​Artificial feeding encourages wildlife to gather in unusually large groups. Although the food appears to be helping our animals to survive, it can actually have a negative impact on waterbodies and the urban environment.
It can:
  • Causes public health issues. When birds gather together for a quick feed it increases the amount of droppings in an area. This leads to fouling of footpaths and park amenities. 
  • Pollute our water. Uneaten food rots and causes serious water pollution problems. Artificial feeding also encourages birds to flock in abnormally high number. The droppings of such large numbers causes additional nutrients to be added to the water and often leads to algae problems. 
  • Attract vermin. Leftover food can attract pests and vermin. 
     

Feeding may harm you

Feeding animals, particularly birds, puts us in direct contact with them.
It increases the risk that you may be bitten by wildlife. Competition for food can promote aggression. Sometimes animals will become fearless and start taking food out of your picnic basket.

​What will they eat? 

Wildlife will not starve if you do not feed them, instead they will look for their own food. Different types of birds and animals eat different foods. These may include fish, insects, plant materials (like algae, nectar, pollen, seeds, grains, fruits and berries), small mammals and reptiles, crabs and other crustaceans, frogs, tadpoles and their eggs, and water bugs.
​Here are some common examples.
  • Pacific Black Duck - forages in water. Mostly eats seeds, but will also dabble (duck dive) for crustaceans, freshwater snails and water bugs. 
  • Australian Wood Duck - forages on land and in shallow water. Prefers to eat grasses and clover, but will also eat insects. 
  • Australian White Ibis - forages in shallow water. Prefers to eat crayfish and mussels, but will also eat insects, frogs and small mammals.
  • Laughing Kookaburra - feeds mostly on insects, worms and crustaceans, but will also eat small snakes, mammals and frogs. 
  • Rainbow Lorikeet - eats nectar and pollen from trees and shrubs, but also eats fruits, seeds and some insects. 
  • Noisy Miner - mostly feeds on nectar, fruits and insects. 
  • Eastern Long-Necked Turtle - mainly eats fish, tadpoles, frogs and crayfish. 
  • Eastern Water Dragon - feeds on small reptiles, worms, frogs, insects, vegetation, fruit, small mammals and molluscs. 
  • Short-finned Eel - mainly a carnivorous feeder that eats aquatic animals including fish, insects, yabbies, shrimps, molluscs and frogs. 
     

​What can I do?

  • Do not feed our wildlife; 
  • Place all unwanted food scraps in tightly lidded bins; 
  • Plant native plants in your garden to encourage native animals and insects; and 
  • Teach your friends and neighbours about not feeding our wildlife. Remember wildlife should be admired and respected at a distance.

Cont​act

For more information, contact Council's Customer Service Centre on 9707 9000. 
Programs

Many of our native animals rely on hollows for protection and to breed. In an urban environment mature trees with hollows are scarce, so installing habitat boxes to supplement habitat is crucial to improving local habitats.

In Canterbury-Bankstown, hundreds of habitat boxes have been installed in local reserves to support our hollow-dependent fauna since the program commenced in 2003. These boxes provide habitat options for a variety of animals, including small parrots, possums, gliders, microbats, kookaburras, wood ducks and owls.

Currently there are more than 400 boxes providing supplementary habitat across Canterbury-Bankstown, about half of these were installed more than 10 years ago and are in the process of being replaced. In 2020, a number of habitat boxes were installed in new locations along the Cooks River, including at Boat Harbour, Gough Whitlam Park and Cup and Saucer Wetland. Council aims to install at least 30 new boxes each year (over the next few years) to replace boxes that reach their end of life and add boxes in new locations.

All boxes have an identification number on the side of the box and are inspected annually for public safety, structural integrity and habitat functionality.

If you see something interesting using a habitat box, we’d love to know about it! Simply snap a photo, note the ID number on the side of the box and email cleanandgreen@cbcity.nsw.gov.au

Reserves with habitat boxes

Bankstown / Darani Ward: Bromley Bushland Reserve, Norfolk Reserve, Roberts Road Reserve and Thella Kenway Reserve.

Bass Hill / Bura Ward: Amaroo Reserve, Band Hall Reserve, Bellevue Reserve, Carysfield Park, Dalton Reserve, Jensen Reserve, Kentucky Reserve, Lansdowne Reserve, Louisa Reserve, Maluga Passive Park, Manahan Reserve, Mirrambeena Regional Park, O'Neill Park, Rose Reserve, Sefton Golf Course, The Crest, Thornton Reserve and Walshaw Park.
 
Canterbury / Budjar Ward: Albert Park, Boat Harbour, Canterbury Park, Cooks River Foreshore, Croydon Park, Earlwood car park, Euston Park, Ewen Park, Gough Whitlam Park, Heynes Reserve (Cup and Saucer Wetland), Lees Park, Mildura Reserve, Pat O'Connor Reserve, Peace Park, Rosedale Reserve, Sando Reserve, Second Avenue Bushland, SJ Harrison Reserve, Sutton Reserve and Waterworth Park.
 
Revesby / Bunya Ward: Amberdale Reserve, Churchill Reserve, Cutting Reserve, Deepwater Park, Dilke Reserve, East Hills Park, Flood Reserve, Gordon Parker Reserve. Kelso Park South, Kelso Waste Management Facility, Keys Reserve, Lambeth Reserve, Marco Reserve, Monash Reserve, Montgomery Reserve, Morgans Creek Reserve, Newland Reserve, Padstow Park, Picnic Point Reserve, Prince Reserve, Richardson Reserve, River Reserve, Roma Reserve, Rorie Reserve, Salt Pan Reserve, Smith Park, Sylvan Grove Native Garden, Vale of Ah Reserve, Virginius Reserve and Whittle Bushland Reserve.

Roselands/ Bunmarra Ward: McLaughlin Oval, Riverwood Wetland, Salt Pan Reserve and Wiley Park.

There are seven Endangered Ecological Communities in Canterbury Bankstown, which are gazetted under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act (TSC Act 1995).

These include:

  • Sydney Turpentine Ironbark Forest;
  • Shale/Gravel Transition Forest;
  • Cooks River/Castlereagh Ironbark Forest;
  • Shale/Sandstone Transition Forest;
  • River Flat Eucalypt Forest; and
  • Coastal Saltmarsh.

While these are our listed ecological communities it does not make our other communities any less precious. Mangroves along both the Cooks and Georges Rivers are susceptible to pollution and climate change