Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4

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The secretive silvereyes


I J. Rooke


Zosterops gouldi

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Durinf the past five years the agricultural Protection Board, in co-operation with scientists from CSIRO's Division of Wildlife Research and the University of Western Australia, had studied the biology and control of the silvereye in the South-West of Western Asustralia. The project was partially funded by a voluntary levy on vignerons in the Margaret River and Mt Barker areas.

The first part of the study investigated the bird's bioloogy - its food requirements, reproductive rate, how it interacted with other birds and its seasonal movements, It was hoped that this knowledge would help develop effective techniques for either controlling the bird or lessening the damage it causes.

Silvereyes are small native Australian birds. They have caused sporadic damage to fruit, especially grapes, since the first European settlers arrived, but the birds are not very well known because of their secretive habits. They are very common along the south-west coastal areas of the State. Other populations exist in eastern Australia and New Zealand