Birds lucky enough to reside as pets in Sydney’s affluent eastern suburbs have very little to worry about on the whole.
Unlike many of their cousins, who invariably end up on some stranger’s dinner plate, the life of these fortunate flappers is somewhat akin to a Beverly Hills poodle. Pretty darn good.
However, this was before a spate of brutal murders took the sunshine from this typically privileged bird community, which now flutters in fear.
As recently, Tanya Excell’s twelve-year-old daughter, of Bellevue Hill, made a grisly discovery when she found five dead silkie bantams (lovely fluffy chickens). Two had been eaten, while three had their heads completely ripped off.
The killer had made their way over a 1.2 metre fence before entering the commodious family henhouse. It didn’t take long for authorities (or even residents) to realise the only creature capable of such ninja-like bird attacks was the urban fox.
Indeed, this crafty critter is gaining somewhat of a reputation in the Sydney area, as Ms Excell also lost ten ducklings to its jaws back in 2008. Deciding enough was enough, she reported this latest incident to Woollahra Council.
After receiving similar reports of an attack at a Double Bay home late last year, where ten chickens were brutally massacred, the council decided it was time to step up the action against these furry crusaders.
Easier said than done, as baiting also harms dogs, and shooting them is not currently acceptable. Trapping is considered the best option, however the council has laid traps at both Parsley Bay and Nielsen Park, but to no avail. After all, the fox is foxy.
University of Sydney mammal pest expert, Matthew Crowther, says foxes are everywhere in the Sydney area. He says they are nocturnal, very cautious about people, and can make their home under buildings and in drains, almost anywhere.
However, what Dr Crowther didn’t say is that foxes appear to have a fetish for pretty, fluffy birds in wealthy areas – a bit like one’s penchant for seared sea bass by the sea. Quite understandable really.
Woollahra Council or not, the culinary adventures of the urban fox aren’t likely to end anytime soon, for despite their numbers, they are seldom seen or caught.
Birds beware, beware of the fox!