Polly wanna peanut?

The peanut growers of Lakeland in Cape York have found an innovative way to stop Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos ( Calyptorhynchus banksii ) from eating their peanut crops - they grow a field of peanuts specifically for the cockatoos.

Growers had suffered significant losses to the birds, who have been visiting the area for hundreds of years to eat seeds from bloodwood trees, and have in recent years developed a liking for peanuts. Growers were forced to shoot birds to scare them away, but the birds invariably returned. Killing birds didn't work.

The 'sacrifice' crop allows the birds to eat their fill on a community and industry sponsored field while leaving commercial crops alone.

Farmers still have concerns about the project, particularly that the cockatoo population will increase rapidly as a result of the free food. For at least the next two years Birds Australia volunteers will count cockatoos regularly to see whether there are increases and management can be adjusted accordingly.

In the meantime the farmers have an alternative to killing that actually works.