Skip to Display Options Skip to Main Content
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Get the facts from the NSW Government. View Council's response to COVID-19 and the impact to services and facilities.
Aboriginal Acknowledgement A -  |  A +
Skip Navigation Links Home : : Environment : : Biodiversity : : Wildlife

Email Link   Wildlife

Flying Foxes

Council has developed the Tweed Flying-fox Camp Management Plan (30.4mB PDF). The plan provides a detailed description of the 16 known active flying-fox camps in the Tweed, and aims to:
  • support Council's ability to respond to community concern regarding flying-foxes
  • ensure positive conservation outcomes for flying-foxes
  • enhance community awareness and understanding
  • facilitate camp management approvals and actions where appropriate

The locations of Tweed's flying-fox camps can be viewed on Council's Open Data Hub (external link).

Council participates in the National Flying-fox Monitoring Program (external link) , undertaking quarterly counts at each camp. If you notice any new camps or changes in activity, please contact Council on (02) 6670 2400.

Birds of the Tweed Valley

Birdlife Northern Rivers and Tweed Shire Council have prepared a Guide to Bird Walks in the Tweed Valley (external link). The Tweed Caldera has an exceptionally high biodiversity, supporting a huge number of plant and animal species. Fertile soils, the climate and latitude all contribute to this biodiversity, with the area able to support temperate and sub-tropical species. Many bird species found in the Tweed Caldera are at the northern or southern extents of their range.

Living with Wildlife

To learn more about living with wildlife see Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers Inc.

All native animals are protecteed under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act -

Brush Turkeys

Brush turkeys are part of Australia's natural heritage, and many householders now accept these birds as a fascinating part of their backyard environment. They are generally shy birds and wary of humans. However, they can become very tame in suburban areas, particularly if they are fed.

Despite some evidence of increasing spread within the suburbs, the long-term survival of the species is seriously threatened by hatchling predation and continued loss of habitat. As such, it is illegal to trap them, which would be the only way to re-locate them. In any case, re-location does not provide a solution. When you remove turkeys, others will continue to move in to the area to take their place.

To adjust to living with brush turkeys, it is important to understand their preferences. The brush turkey favours moist gardens with a combination of intermittent shade, vegetative mulch and available food resources, which facilitates both foraging and nesting behaviour. Keeping this in mind will help you to determine methods of deterrence.

What you can do if a Brush turkey builds an unwanted mound in your garden

No single method will be effective in all situations, but the following will minimise any destruction they may cause to your garden.

  • Do not feed brush turkeys.
  • Ensure no scraps of food or rubbish are left lying around.
  • Do not leave domestic pet food outside.
  • Turkey-proof your garden by:
    • using heavy coverings such as river rocks, coarse gravel and logs instead of, or over, vegetative mulch;
    • Surrounding areas of your garden you want protected with plants such as Lomandra and low growing Grevillea varieties and/or plants with prickles that can be planted en-masse and provide thick ground cover,
    • Diverting the turkey's attention away from your garden by building a household compost mound or using their favourite scratching material, hay or cane mulch. This should be placed in the shade and be kept moist.
    • Using tree guards or fencing to protect young plants.
  • If a male chooses to build a mound in your yard, he will persist even if you disturb it every day. Mound-building activity will persist during the breeding season, and decrease once the chicks have left the nest. If you do not want a nest in your garden try covering the mound with wire or a tarpaulin with heavy weights, but this must be done before any eggs are laid.
For further information click here (external link)

Nest Boxes

Nest boxes in backyards are a great way to encourage birds to your garden or to provide possums with an alternative home to your roof. Nest boxes can provide important habitat for a range of species including birds, arboreal (tree-dwelling) mammals and micro bats. Artificial tree hollows, or ‘nest boxes’ can be used as a replacement for natural hollows. Identify what hollow-using fauna occur in your area and use this to guide what type of box is appropriate as different species require different sized openings and ‘hollow’ sizes. There are several nest box manufacturers in Australia and publications that outline design and construction are available on the internet. The ‘Nest Box Manual’ in the available downloads section above provides information about site selection, installation, maintenance and monitoring.


Living with your local possums

Council does not relocate possums. Nor do Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers, unless they are sick or injured, in which case call their 24 hour hotline on (02) 6672 4789.

Possums, like all other native animals, are protected in NSW. This means it is illegal to harm them in any way, which includes trapping and relocating them in another area.

Research has shown that nearly 100% of relocated possums die within days of their release and sometimes cause death of other possums. They will fight for their territory often resulting in injuries followed by a slow and painful death. If they do find a new hollow to live in, re-located possums may also displace other wildlife, such as parrots, owls or gliders.

What you can do if a possum is living in your roof

The combination of light, smells and an alternative home should encourage the possum to leave your roof.

  • Check your roof to make sure it is, in fact, a possum that is living there and not rats. If you hear movement during the day, it is more than likely rats. If you are not sure, you could set a non-lethal trap to check what animals are disturbing you.
  • Locate the access points into the roof and identify trees or structures possibly being used to climb up to the roof.
  • Place collars made from aluminum or sheet iron around the trunks of trees being used to access the roof and lop any overhanging branches.
  • Make or buy a nest box, and install it in your garden as an alternative den site for the possum.
  • Spread mothballs in the roof to repel the possum. DO NOT USE RAT BAIT, as this will cause an extremely painful and cruel death for possums and possibly other wildlife.
  • Place a light in the roof and leave it on for three days and nights.
  • Once you are sure the possum has left your roof, block off the known entrance points. If you do not do this your efforts will be wasted, as another animal is sure to make its home in your roof.


If a snake enters your yard, leave it alone and generally it will move on. The general rule of thumb is to be aware when it is snake season and to take the necessary precautions associated with the season. It's good for all of us to be 'snake wise' and remember these safeguards:

  • Snake types are easily confused, so all snakes should be treated as if they are venomous.
  • Snakes will usually only attack if they feel threatened, so give them plenty of space to make their escape.
  • Around houses, people should clean up aviaries, dog kennels and poultry pens where food attracts mice.
  • Remove debris and clutter from yards, keep lawns mowed and slash tall grass along fences.
  • Ensure gaps under doorways and any holes or gaps in walls are sealed.
  • Don’t try to catch or kill a snake – that is when 90% of snake bites happen.
Relocaton of snakes is not recommended unless they are really a threat to your safety. In an event where a snake is a threat, to have it safely removed from a property, call for a trained volunteer from:

Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers - 24 hour phone - (02) 6672 4789 (Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers ask for a donation for snake relocations) or check the Yellow Pages for professional snake relocators.

Swooping Birds


Magpies are one of Australia's favourite birds. They are common across most of Australia and are a familiar sight in the Tweed. Magpies thrive in suburban areas because parks, playing fields, backyards and schoolyards often provide ideal environments for foraging and breeding.

Like humans, magpies protect their young. During the breeding season, typically July to November, magpies may swoop other birds, animals and humans as a warning to intruders that the nest, eggs and juvenile birds will be defended. Swooping behaviour typically lasts for around six weeks.

Swooping birds can be a frightening experience, but understanding why some birds behave this way helps us share our rural and urban environments with them.

Being aware of swooping areas enables us to take extra precautions while they protect their nests and young, such as avoiding their territory. However, don't be concerned simply because there are magpies present.

If you consider a magpie to be a serious menace and swooping occurs on bushland or private property, you may report the incident to National Parks and Wildlife Service on (02) 6670 8600. If swooping occurs on Council-managed land such as a park or road reserve, contact Council’s Operations Coordinator, Parks on (02) 6670 2400.

Masked lapwings (Plovers)

The masked lapwing, also commonly known simply as “plover” is a medium-sized conspicuous bird with loud, penetrating calls. It is a bold bird that swoops at intruders in defence of their eggs or young. Some pairs defend large mobile territories around chicks rather than the nest. Such attacks will usually cease after the eggs hatch and chicks are mobile. Most swooping behaviour is to threaten or bluff to warn off intruders. Contact is rarely made.

10 tips to protect yourself from swooping birds

Minimise the risk of being swooped, by following these 10 tips:
  1. Know your local swooping hotspots. Keep informed about parks, schoolyards and bike trails in your local area by reading your local newspapers.
  2. Avoid the area. The best way to protect yourself from a swooping bird, is to avoid venturing into their territory
  3. Move quickly. If you must pass through the area – move quickly – do not run.
  4. Cover your head. Wear a hat or carry an umbrella above your head. Cyclists should wear a helmet, dismount and walk through the area.
  5. Eyes at the back of your head. Birds may be less likely to swoop if they think you are watching them. Draw a pair of ‘eyes’ and attach to the back of hats and helmets.
  6. Do not harass wildlife. Don’t interfere with or throw stones at birds. This gives them added reason to see humans as a threat and may increase swooping behaviour.
  7. Do not destroy nests. This may prompt birds to rebuild their nests, prolonging the swooping behaviour.
  8. Don’t feed swooping birds.
  9. Travel in a group. If possible, try to travel in a group in areas where there are swooping birds.
  10. Notify others. Put up warning signs for others who may not be aware that there are swooping birds in the area, or ask your council to do so.
Please remember that it is against the law to harm native wildlife. If you need more information about swooping birds in your area, please contact National Parks and Wildlife on (02) 6670 8600.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is responsible for magpie attacks?

Last Updated: