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Feathers, feces and a terrible din: Lorikeets take over pitch

Lorikeets are cute, but in their thousands they poo, shed feathers and make a lot of noise, causing major headaches for Grafton Hockey.
Lorikeets are cute, but in their thousands they poo, shed feathers and make a lot of noise, causing major headaches for Grafton Hockey. Max Fleet

A MILLION-dollar council facility in Grafton is being left for the birds.

Thousands of lorikeets have taken up residence in the trees above the car park at the Grafton Hockey Complex, creating a pollution hazard that is only increasing in volume.

But the feathers and feces strewn over the car park and artificial hockey surface are only part of the pollution.

Such is the power of their shrieks, Grafton Hockey's executive officer Bruce Carle could leave the half-time siren on for an hour every night and not receive a noise complaint.

"You could forget to turn the hooter off and not realise when the birds are around," Mr Carle said.

"It's impossible to have a normal conversation at the fields and people staying in the bunkhouse accommodation are complaining about being woken up by the birds at 5am.

"We've written to council in the past, but no action has been taken."

The lorikeets' decibel level is louder than a passing diesel truck and their noise pollution is a serious concern for local residents and players using the facility.

But it is their roost mess which has the potential to leave the most lasting damage to the ratepayer-funded facility.

"We have a motorised turf sweeper designed to keep the surface free of debris and maintain the artificial surfaces," Mr Carle said.

"But the machine is not designed to pick up thousands of feathers and quills, and the end result is that they are driven deep into the turf whenever people play hockey. The population of birds is increasing every year; the solution may not be an easy one, but something needs to be done."

GHA put up $100,000 of members' money to build the new $1 million "Legends" turf, and when the council went $200,000 over budget on the project, GHA chipped in an extra $50,000.

"To see this world-class facility being slowly crucified is a crying shame," Mr Carle said.

Topics:  editors picks, grafton hockey association, lorikeets, noise pollution



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