The Magpie goose (Anseranas semipalmata) is a waterbird species and resident breeder of northern Australia. Over the last decade mango farmers in northern Australia have reported Magpie Geese aggregating in ever increasing numbers within mango orchards. The birds cause damage to fruit, trees, and irrigation equipment, and is suggested to cost the industry millions of dollars. The overall goal of this project is to develop sustainable management strategies for Magpie Geese on mango orchards that align with the gained understanding of the population and behavioural dynamics of the birds. The project will comprise two complimenting protocols; the first will be an ecological monitoring study to better understand why Magpie Geese are moving from their native wetlands into mango orchards. The second will involve empirical studies to assess the effectiveness of various adverse stimuli and environmental modification to reduce bird density and bird-crop interaction. Understanding the environmental drivers of Magpie Geese movement, at both the individual and population level, is essential to understand why Magpie geese are moving from their native wetlands into mango orchards. These data are critical to reverse the current trend and develop long-term effective solutions to reducing goose numbers in Mango orchards.
The project is led by Charles Darwin University in collaboration with the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries (DPIF), the Department of Land and Resource Management (DLRM), the Parks and Wildlife Commission (PWC) and the NT Farmers’ Association (NTFA). The project will be guided by an advisory committee, whose members will be comprised of mango growers, key researchers from the above institutes and Horticulture Innovation Australia.. The majority of the on-the-ground work will be undertaken by a PhD candidate enrolled at CDU and funded under the International Post-graduate Research Scholarship program. Findings from the research will be disseminated to farmers through the advisory committee, presentations, and written materials.