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Galah plague blamed for causing blackouts and stripping trees in Queensland town Boulia

By Nicole Bond, Wednesday July 24, 2013 - 12:42 EST
ABC image
Galahs have been causing the wires to hit each other causing blackouts and power surges. - ABC

Thousands of birds have been flocking to a town in Queensland, causing blackouts and stripping trees, according to the local mayor.

Boulia mayor Rick Britton says up to 4,000 galahs and cockatoos have been roosting in the town over the past 10 weeks.

Councillor Britton says the birds perch on powerlines and, when they take flight, can cause the wires to crash together leading to power outages and surges.

It is thought the birds are being attracted to the town in their search for water as the state's extensive drought continues.

The mayor, whose family has lived in Boulia for five generations, says he has never seen anything like it.

"Now it's 4:00pm or 3:00pm ... there's not a bird to be seen. But come 5:00pm or 5:30pm, 6:00pm, it's just a noisy wildlife sanctuary," he said.



"I think the biggest fact is the galahs and cockatoos, they've just impacted in our shire in our township like never before.

"Because they all like to perch on our electrical overhead wires overnight and, if they take a flight during the night or when they take off early morning, they've been [causing] the wires to hit together and we've been having blackouts."



Hayley Dunne, 8, who lives in the town says: "They are so noisy and they poo everywhere and they make the town dirty. They are so noisy and they wake us up in the morning when we're trying to sleep."

Councillor Britton says there are also financial implications.

"Issues with our computer systems, you know, technology is paramount nowadays with our fridges and all that sort of thing, air conditioners. So that will be causing failure in that area," he said.

He predicts the birds will leave once the drought breaks.

Ergon Energy has installed spacers to hold the wires apart and the council and residents have tried lopping trees and using a scare gun to deter the birds, but without success.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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