Introduced to Hawaii from India in the 1860s, the myna bird has flourished on the islands. The birds build nests wherever there is space and thrive in urban areas. Although the birds devour insects and are considered a natural form of pest control, myna birds can be a nuisance species in Hawaii.
Nonnative Species in Hawaii
As an island ecosystem, Hawaii is fragile. The plants and animals on the islands evolved in seclusion from other species. When nonnative species arrive on the island, it upsets the ecological balance that has been thousands of years in the making, often at the detriment of the native species. The myna is no exception. It competes with native birds for food and nesting spots, destroys the eggs of other birds and will even kick small native animals out of their burrows.
Myna birds carry salmonella and avian malaria. The mites that live on myna birds can also aggravate dermatitis reactions and asthma attacks in sensitive people. This is especially a problem because mynas will make their homes within buildings where people work and live. Avian malaria kills native birds and may have attributed to the extinction of some.
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In groups, mynas are quite noisy. This disturbs the people who live nearby. In addition, myna birds have little fear of people and have been known to steal food directly off the plates of outside diners. Mynas have also been known to attack people.
Damage to Crops
While it is good that myna birds eat insect pests, but in their search for bugs, the birds can be quite destructive. They damage fruit crops and sugar cane and will tear vegetables from the ground to loosen the soil. This habit is also a problem when they destroy fragile native plants. Also, mynas don't know the difference between a pest and an endangered insect, leading to endangered insects being put at further risk.