Tamworth's flying fox numbers are down

THERE are distinctly fewer flying foxes in the skies above Tamworth of an evening – possibly marking the end of an occupation that began in winter.

Residents have noticed there aren’t as many of the grey-headed flying foxes around, and the trees along the river they’d made their home are now mostly empty.

Lawrence Orel, from the Office of Environment and Heritage, said they had likely moved on because the local food resources had been exhausted.

Mr Orel said flying foxes followed flowering trees and set up temporary camps where they found their food.

The animals could leave as quickly as they arrived, he said.

There have been reports they have dispersed throughout the city, but this could not be confirmed.

Mr Orel said the colony of flying foxes – estimated to have numbered 40,000 – were likely attracted to the city because of the white box gum flowering season.

While the animals are crucial pollinators, particularly for hardwoods, their departure comes as a relief to the Peel riverside residents who had to share their peaceful spot of the city with the noisy critters.

Brian Jeffrey’s home lies close to the river and he is happy his winged neighbours have mostly left.

“The smell wasn’t too bad, but it could get a bit ripe late of a night,” Mr Jeffrey said.

He said he was also worried the trees along the riverbank – which the flying foxes had stripped of greenery – could die off, but new growth had started to appear.

The flying foxes can be found anywhere from Melbourne to Bundaberg within 300km of the coastline, and they tend to move to wherever trees are coming into flower, mainly hardwoods.

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