The City is home to a variety of different birds. Birds play a useful role in balancing the natural ecosystem and can be natural pest agents. Feeding wild birds can be bad for their health and the environment, affecting hunting habits and causing aggressive behaviour.

The City has a Birds and Reserves Guide, which features some of the most common birds in Cockburn and where you will find them. View and download the guide under Related Documents for more information.

Feeding birds 

It is also now an offence in Western Australia to feed native fauna, including birds, without a licence. Fines of up to $20,000 are part of updated regulations under Section 155 of the West Australian Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

When we feed birds we can unintentionally harm them and pollute their homes. Wild birds are meant to look after themselves. 
Sickness and disease
Just like humans, birds can’t digest some foods. Birds can become malnourished and sick by eating ‘human’ food like bread rather than natural food sources like insects, snails and worms. Rotting bread in the water can also lead to more sickness and the spread of disease.
Food dependency

Birds can become dependent on human feeding and can concentrate in high numbers. This can lead to aggressive behaviour, overpopulation and even delay migration patterns. Young birds can die if they lack skills to forage for food. Overpopulation then leads to over grazing, the spread of disease, loss of offspring and crowding out of other species’ breeding sites.

Neighbourhood Issues

Feeding birds can cause issues in your neighbourhood. Large, regular bird gatherings can lead to ducks crossing busy roads and suffering injury or death due to vehicle strike, as they flocked towards artificial food sources. Flocking birds cause unwanted noise, mess and property damage.

Water Quality
Uneaten decaying bread and other food matter can cause a build-up of nutrients (eutrophication). It only takes 1-2 grams of phosphorus from bread to affect water quality. Excess nutrients are linked to:
  • Algal blooms (including toxic blue-green algae) and aquatic weeds
  • Botulism and other bird diseases spreading between wetlands
  • Decreases in water quality
  • Reduction in dissolved oxygen leading to fish kills and other fauna deaths
  • Reduced animal and plant diversity.
Artificial feeding favours dominant bird species which then start to outnumber some of the more threatened species that need to be protected in the urban environment. If you love our wildlife, please help us protect them.

Protected Birds

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo

Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) are native to south-west Western Australia and often seen in the City of Cockburn. They are an endangered species due to habitat loss from land clearing and a shortage of nesting sites. They are large, black birds with white tail feathers and a white spot on each cheek. They are migratory birds, moving between nesting and feeding grounds through the year.
What the City is doing about Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos:

  • Native Bird Oasis – Partnership with BirdLife WA to restore a section of Bibra Lake reserve with bird friendly plant species and install a water source.

  • Installation of artificial nesting boxes (Cockatubes) to supplement nesting hollows in bird reserves in Bibra Lake, Manning Park and more.

  • Cockatoo Food Garden - Partnership with BirdLife WA  to install a water feature and Carnaby’s friendly plants and trees at Goodwill Park, Atwell.

Fairy Terns

Australian Fairy Terns (Sternula nereis nereis) are a vulnerable species due to increased human disturbance and predation by other animals, including cats and dogs. They are migratory shorebirds that can be found along coastal beaches and near-coastal wetlands in south-western Australia. They are small, white birds except for a black crown. These birds nest along sheltered beaches just above the high-water mark. Their nest is a scrape in the sand, often covered by small pebbles and shell fragments. The nests may be directly in the shallow sands or sandy patches amongst rocks. Their nesting habit makes them easily vulnerable to predation and disturbances and therefore requires protection.
What the City is doing about Fairy Terns:

  • Following the Animal Management and Exercise Plan 2020-2025, dogs are now prohibited at Woodman Point beach. Woodman Point beach is a known habitat and breeding ground for Fairy Terns and other migratory shorebirds. The pet prohibition at this beach is meant to provide safety and conservation benefits for vulnerable shorebirds.

Other migratory birds

Other migratory shorebirds have been identified in the City’s region over recent years:

  • Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus, least concerned)

  • Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia, least concerned)

  • Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea, critically endangered)

  • Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris, critically endangered)

  • Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultia, vulnerable)

  • Lesser Sand Plover (Charadrius mongolus, endangered)

  • Red Knot (Calidris canutus, endangered)

Most of these birds have been recorded at Woodman Point beach. Additionally, shorebirds such as the Pied Oystercatcher, Sooty Oystercatcher, Hooded Plover and Red-capped Plover sometimes use the beach and coastal areas for nesting. Most of these birds are also endangered due to increased human and dog activities that disturb their breeding grounds.

The City houses many important wetlands which regularly support large numbers of shorebirds and other waterbirds. This includes Thomson’s Lake which is a protected Ramsar Wetland of international significance. Ramsar is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation and 'wise use' of wetlands. Some of the other wetlands within the Beeliar Regional Park are listed in the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia.

Interact but don’t interfere

There are a number of ways to interact with birds, including:
  • Bird watching - use the map under the documents list below to locate wetlands for bird watching in the City of Cockburn. Grab some binoculars and get spotting!
  • Plant a native garden - native gardens full of flowers are one of the best ways to attract birds. Flowering plants attract insects also which encourages even more birds!
  • Build a bird bath – the City offers bird baths rebates. Bush birds like honeyeaters love to frolic in bird baths. Remember to locate the bath off the ground away from predators and clean it regularly!
Please help our birds feed themselves!

Nuisance Birds 

Swooping Magpies

Australian Magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) are a native and common species to Australia. They usually breed between August to October every year and it is during this period that male magpies will they swoop to protect their nests, especially if they feel threatened. Be assured that Magpies only swoop during a very short period of the year, up to 6 weeks and only in proximity to their nest.
How to avoid swooping

  • Never deliberately “scare off” or harass a magpie as this will likely only aggravate the situation and make the magpie more defensive.

  • If possible, plan your travel/walking route to avoid common magpie areas during nesting season. Magpies usually defend an area of about 100m from their nest.

  • Locate the bird and keep watching it when entering its territory. If it swoops, do not crouch in fear or stop. It is best to adopt a confident stride and move through the area quickly without running.

  • Protect and cover your face with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. You can also carry an open umbrella for protection.

Rainbow Lorikeets

Rainbow Lorikeets (Trichoglossus moluccanus) are not native birds to Western Australia but were introduced in the 1960s. As a parrot species, they are easily identifiable by its bright red beak and colourful plumage. They are widespread and commonly observed in loud and fast-moving flocks. They are classified as pests because of their negative impacts to the region:

  • Threat to locally declining native parrots (Red-capped Parrot, Western Rosella and Australian Ringneck) from nesting hollow competition. They are known to kill nestlings of other species

  • Threat to nectar feeding birds and other animals from food competition

  • Potential to spread bird diseases

  • Damage to fruit crops and infrastructure

In partnership with BirdLife WA, through the Operation Rainbow Roost project, the City is working to control the Rainbow Lorikeet population by reducing their nesting habitat and conducting palm tree maintenance.


Australian Ravens (Corvus coronoides) are a native species in Australia, found commonly in both rural and urban areas in Western Australia. They are large and all-black birds. Their unmistakeable rattling call and tendency to flock together in big numbers can cause them to be seen as nuisance birds. However, they are not classified as threats or pests.

Injured birds

Have you found an injured bird and are not sure what to do? View the injured bird flow chart below for step-by-step instructions or contact WA Wildlife (formerly Native ARC) for assistance.

Related Documents

Document name Downloadable files
Baby Birds flow chartPDF document

More information and contact

Please contact Environmental Services for more information on birds on 08 9411 3444 or [email protected].



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
9 Coleville Crescent,
Spearwood 6163

PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC,
Western Australia, 6965

Office opening hours:
8.30am to 4.30pm
Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays)

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.