Bellbirds: Friend or Foe?

What a wonderful thing to hear, the call of the Bellbird. All who visit our Waterbrook Bowral site are greeted and delighted by the sound, however this is not the case for the other species of birds trying to share a habitat with them.

Bellbirds, or Bell Miners, are territorial and pugnacious, so that when they move into a patch of forest they usually evict most of the other small birds.

This becomes a problem as Bellbirds are strongly associated with psyllid (tiny insects that feed on leaves) infestations in gum trees, causing the disease called ‘dieback’. Studies have shown that Bellbirds maintain psyllid populations at high levels by protecting them from other birds and by maintaining sufficiently large territories so that they don’t over-feed on the psyllids themselves.

So whilst we want the Bellbirds to remain, we also want all the other local birdlife to enjoy our beautiful stretch of Mittagong Creek as well. We are currently working on achieving this through consultation with local Rivercare, Bushcare and Birdlife Southern Highlands groups. Stay tuned!

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