Locking cockatoos out of kerbside bins

cockatoos getting into a landfill bin

Council is trialling new-design bin locks on 400 landfill bins in Lorne to prevent cockatoos from opening bins.

We are investigating options for a long term solution, but we need your help now too; by sorting your household waste correctly and following some simple rules, you can ensure your bins are not easy targets for cockatoos.

Provide feedback now

Report spilt litter from cockatoos


Bins fitted with trial locks have a sticker on the lid inviting you to send in feedback on the effectiveness of the lock and its ease of use.

You can submit feedback at any time up until 30 June 2023.

Your comments will help us find a long-term solution to prevent cockatoos from accessing kerbside bins. To thank you for your assistance, we’ll put your name in the draw to win a $100 gift card.

Provide your feedback online now

See the terms and conditions

Which locks are being tested?

We trialled three different locks and lid weights on landfill bins throughout 2022:

  • Secure-a-lid

    The lock uses a gravity release design to automatically unlock when the bin is lifted and tilted by the collection truck.

  • Lid weights
    A wooden block (approx. 0.8kgs) is secured to the inside of the bin lid, which makes the lid difficult for cockatoos to lift and flip open.

  • Oversized lids

    A large bin lid that extends outside the body of the bin, which removes the ledge for cockatoos to stand on while they open the bin.

Three new-design locks were added to the trial in December 2022 and January 2023:

  • Fly Away

    A self-release catch that opens when the bin is emptied into the truck. A galvanised spring rod extends from the rear of the bin over the lid and attaches under the front edge of the bin. The Fly Away needs to be re-engaged after the bin is emptied. Here's how to set one up:

  • Litter Lock

    A plastic moulded clip with a long arm that extends down the side of the bin. A hinge attached to the bin body holds the arm in place. The clip securing the lid automatically releases when the arm of the collection truck picks up the bin.

  • Bin Apron
    The Bin Apron, a bin-lid modification designed by the Lorne Men’s Shed, will soon be included in the trial. The Bin Apron is a moulded plastic lid that extends over the lip of the bin body and eliminates a ledge for the cockatoos to stand on. Bin Aprons will be fitted to landfill bins in Lorne in coming months.

Bins fitted with a trial lock are in areas where cockatoos are currently active, or where Council has received reports from residents and visitors about spilt waste in the street.

If you would like to participate in the trial, call us on 5261 0600, or send an email to info@surfcoast.vic.gov.au

Lorne cockatoo forum recap

Part 1

Ian Temby talks cockatoos


Part 2

Questions for Ian followed by Council's work (Neil Brewster) and Litter Prevention (Luke Shanhun), plus demonstrations of the different mechanisms designed to keep the cockatoos out.

Part 3

Extra questions

Top six bin rules

  1. Do not overfill bins

    Overfull and open bins are easy targets for cockatoos looking for their next meal.

    Bags of waste sitting next to landfill bins will not be picked up by the collection truck. If it doesn’t fit in the bin, wait until the next collection, or take it to the transfer station.

    Find your closest transfer station

  2. Close the lid, and engage the bin lock

    Some bins are fitted with locking mechanisms to keep the cockatoos out. Ensure the lock is engaged when you put the bin on the kerbside for collection.

  3. Put ALL food waste in the FOGO bin

    Audits of kerbside bins in Lorne revealed that 24% of the contents of the red-lidded landfill bin is food waste. ALL food waste (even seafood leftovers, raw & cooked meat, citrus & dairy products) should go in your FOGO bin, which is collected every week in Lorne township.

  4. Put bins out on the right day

    Bins left on the kerbside for extended periods attract hungry cockatoos. Bins should be placed out 24 hours before collection day, and taken back inside the property 48 hours after they are emptied.

    Under Council’s Local Law, penalties may apply for bins on the kerbside outside these timeframes.

  5. Do not feed cockatoos

    Human food can make cockatoos sick and spread disease from bird to bird, or birds to humans. They are also becoming aggressive and pestering people for food.

  6. Report spilt litter

    Call Council on 5261 0600 or at info@surfcoast.vic.gov.au

Do not feed the cockatoos

Cockatoo’s natural diet is berries, seeds, nuts and roots and there is plenty available in the bushland surrounding Lorne. Feeding wild bird seed mix to cockatoos, King Parrots and other wildlife can make them dependent on humans for their survival, and may cause nutrient deficiencies.

Human food such as bread, chips and meat (and other leftovers and scraps they find in kerbside bins) can also make them sick, and may even kill them.

Keep wildlife wild!

  • Hand-fed cockatoos are bored cockatoos. When cockatoos don’t need to forage for their natural foods, they spend their “leisure time” chewing on buildings.
  • Neighbouring homes could be suffering cockatoo damage as a direct result of one homeowner’s handfeeding of wildlife.
  • Feeding allows for the easy spread of disease from bird to bird (Psittacine Beak & Feather Disease), and from birds to humans.
  • Feeding encourages pests such as mice, rats and introduced bird species, as well as feral cats and foxes.
  • Native birds need to teach their young how to forage for a wide variety of natural foods.

Cockatoos are a protected native species under the Wildlife Act 1975 and it is an offence to injure or kill them.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) is the responsible authority for all wildlife including cockatoos.

All food waste should goes in the FOGO bin

Please sort your food waste correctly!

Cockatoos are foraging in the landfill bin to find your leftover food, scraps and peelings.

As they search for food, they pull out other rubbish and drop it onto the street.

Keep all food in the FOGO bin, so it gets collected weekly.

Find out more about your FOGO bin


Wild sulphur crested cockatoos are a familiar sight on our streetscapes. Normally feeding on berries, seeds, nuts and roots, our curious and clever neighbours have identified kerbside bins as an easy option for their next meal.

Often working together, cockatoos open bin lids to forage for food, sometimes spilling waste onto the street.

Read more about cockatoos