Home Hill News

Dispersal Program targets Town Bats

Burdekin Shire Council

FLYING fox issues in Home Hill have been the centre of attention for the Burdekin Shire Council for two weeks in May, with the assistance of Biodiversity Australia, as dispersal activities took place from Tuesday, May 16 in varying areas of the town, including Kidby Gully.

Mayor Lyn McLaughlin spoke to members of the Home Hill Chamber of Commerce in May about the activities which were to start just after the meeting was held.

Chamber members were told that during the period of the dispersal activities, they would continue each morning until 8am for two weeks, during which period, residents could expect loud noise and should take action to secure their pets. 

The noise was expected to be most significant at the start of the program and gradually decrease as the program progressed.

Pyrotechnics were to be used to disperse the flying-foxes and Home Hill residents were advised not to undertake their own dispersal activities during the program, as it may negatively affect what the Biodiversity Australia team were trying to achieve. 

If flying-foxes were to land in anyone’s yard, they were advised to phone the hotline number (1300 506 991), while more information on the dispersal activities were available on the Council Customer Service (4783 9800).

The Dispersal Activities included – Deterrent measures used by Biodiversity Australia, which included audio and pyrotechnics; Statistics of the number of pyrotechnic cartridges used is not normally kept in these activities and the figures provided were approximations; The first day was the most important, with maximum deterrent effort – and the second and sub-sequent days were more low key, with minor and minimum deterrents used. 

Flying foxes dispersed quickly, mainly in a north and north-eastern direction; Biodiversity Australia continued to monitor the main site at Kidby Gully plus other spill-over sites identified and called through from the public; Biodiversity Australia were to be on site until Monday, May 29, 2023 and council staff was to monitor sites thereafter.

The following results were reported by the Council for the daily activities that took place – Tuesday, May 16 – An initial main effort with a high number of rounds used in the first effort to clear out Kidby Gully and follow to other spill-over sites, such as Lloyd Mann Park, Seventeenth Street and the Mill area. 

Wednesday, May 17 – Only minor numbers of rounds used and little encouragement needed to move bats on. Only about 200 bats attempted to return.

Thursday, May 18 – Minimum pyro’s used and approximately 50 bats at the main roost dispersed quickly.

Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20 – Minimum pyro’s used each day.

Sunday, May 21 – A rest day for observation only. There may be 50 bats at Kidby Gully. 

Monday, May 22 – Minimum Pyros with up to 500 bats in Kidby Gully that left easily and of their own accord.

Tuesday, May 23 – Minimum pyros – Approximately 50 bats in Kidby Gully, which were dispersed quickly. Overflow areas to look at were at Seventeenth Street, Memorial Park and the Mill.

No further reports were received from council on the deterrent effort, although it was evident that more pyrotechnics were used up to the morning of Monday, May 29 when the sounds of shots were heard.