Noisy miners are Australian native birds and so we should like them, but their very nature makes that hard.
While they are a good-looking and adaptable bird, they are not very friendly to us, or other birds.
Just to be clear, noisy miners are the grey ones and Indian mynas are the brown ones.
They are both not great birds – Indian mynas are an introduced pest – but noisy miners are native so we probably shouldn’t be culling them.
There have been culling programs, but other groups swiftly moved into the empty territory, making it a pointless exercise.
Noisy miners live in admirable co-operative groups that look out for each other and help raise each other’s young, but they are also aggressive to humans and downright mean to other birds.
Their worst behaviour is called ‘mobbing’ which involves co-ordinated attacks on other birds to drive them out of their territory. This removes diversity and is not good for the environment, and especially not good for other birds.
And that aggressive behaviour means they also swoop humans.
Forget magpies, the last time I was swooped was by a noisy miner and not only did it go for the initial attack, it came back for a second go. I had to swing my handbag at it like a ninja and still won’t travel that particular path.
So, if you want to deter noisy miners in your garden or local environment, there are a few steps you can take to support diversity.
Limit their food source
One of the easiest ways to discourage noisy miners from hanging out in your garden is to limit their food source.
Noisy miners are primarily nectar feeders, but they also eat insects and fruits. Try to limit how many nectar-producing plants you have in your garden, and instead plant more fruit-bearing trees and shrubs.
This has the added bonus that it will attract other bird species while discouraging noisy miners.
Remove nesting sites
Noisy miners build their nests in dense shrubs or trees, usually in groups so eliminating nesting sites should discourage them from your garden.
Trim trees and shrubs, especially dense ones, to make them less attractive to noisy miners. However, be sure to do this outside of the breeding season, as removing nests during this time is illegal.
Light and sound
Noisy miners are territorial birds and can be deterred by using sound and visual cues.
Hang reflective objects, such as CDs or mirrors, in your garden and you can also use bird-scaring devices, such as plastic snakes or owls, or play recordings of predator calls to scare them away.
Cover pet food and water
Noisy miners love pet food and water so keep them out of sight. Keep pet food indoors or covered, and cover bird baths or any other standing water sources in your garden.
However, this is a compromise as you are also removing water for other species. Use your own judgement.
Physical barriers can be an effective way to deter noisy miners.
Take a bit of time to install bird netting over your fruit trees or vegetable gardens to prevent noisy miners from eating your produce.
You can also use chicken wire or other mesh materials to cover shrubs and bushes to prevent noisy miners from nesting.
Discouraging noisy miners requires a bit of effort, but your garden, and other birds, will thank you.
Do you have noisy miners in your garden? Have you successfully scared them off? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?