Sydney council takes extreme measure to fight bin-diving cockatoos

A Sydney council will be providing residents locks for their bins in an attempt to foil crafty cockatoos who have developed the ability to lift bin lids and wreak havoc on streets.

Campbelltown City Council has begun a 12-month trial to stop bin-diving sulphur-crested cockatoos across five suburbs including Ruse, Airds, St Helens Park, Kentlyn and Minto Heights.

Participating households will be given one of two different kinds of latches for their red general waste and yellow recycling bins.

Due to a limited number of the latches being available, residents will need to provide proof of their address and that they have an ongoing issue with cockatoos spreading rubbish.

Campbelltown City Council’s Director City Planning and Environment, Jim Baldwin, said the expansion of the program will depend on whether the latches will reduce rubbish spilling onto the streets.

“Council is conducting a 12-month trial of domestic waste bin lid latches to determine their effectiveness in reducing waste spillage from bins caused by cockatoos and wind and whether there is sufficient demand for this service among residents going forward,” he said.

“We are providing bin lid latches to participating residents and asking them to provide regular feedback during the trial period.”

In 2021, Australian researchers found cockatoos in southern Sydney had mastered opening bins through “social learning” by observing other birds.

The paper, published in Science journal, made 50 recommendations for how to keep the cockatoos at bay which ranged from placing a brick or heavy door mats on bins, to using locks.

“The ability to open kerb-side bins is unique to cockatoos of southern Sydney, but this behaviour appears to be spreading,” report co-author and Associate Professor at Western Sydney University John Martin wrote in an article published on The Conversation.

“Last year, we published research revealing this behaviour is a stunning display of “social learning”, as birds learn the bin-opening technique by observing their neighbour.”

Originally published as Council takes extreme measure to fight off bin-diving cockatoos

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