By Stephen Newbey.
SWCC and Birdlife Australia recently ran two ran two cockatoo training workshops, one in conjunction with Katanning Landcare, and the other with Blackwood Basin Group.
The training included:
- How to identify potential cockatoo nesting sites;
- Survey methods of nesting sites;
- How to use ‘Cocky Cam’ to see into nesting sites; and
- General information on threatened Black Cockatoo’s.
Following the indoor morning session, we travelled to a nearby reserve where Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos were recorded as nesting in the previous years. We located four nesting hollows and used ‘Cocky Cam’ to inspect the hollows to see if they were in current use. The first hollow was not in use, the second contained one egg, but this appeared to be an egg from a previous unsuccessful nesting attempt, the third contained some parrot eggs. Finally, a nesting female was flushed from the fourth site and watched on diligently as we used ‘Cocky Cam’ to investigate inside the hollow where she had been sitting on two eggs.
Forms were filled in to record the nesting status at each site. On the way back to Katanning, Adam stopped at another nesting site on the road verge, unfortunately a storm had damaged the tree and destroyed the nesting hollow. Adam decided to try a nearby tree as it appeared to have suitable hollows. A female was flushed from the hollow and ‘Cocky Cam’ revealed she had been sitting on one egg.
Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo’s generally lay two eggs, but seldomly raise more than one chick each year. They return to nest in the same hollow if the previous year’s nesting was successful.
Mature trees with hollows are essential for nesting and competition for hollows is strong with other birds, such as parrots, galahs and correllas. Feral bees can also occupy hollows making them hollows unavailable for nesting.
Nearby food sources are essential as the male feeds the female twice daily while she is sitting and then both parents feed the chick once it has hatched. Dryandras, Banksias, Hakeas and Sheoaks are all good food species for Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos. If these species are unavailable paddock weeds such as Erodium (Corkscrews) are sought.
This project is supported by South West Catchments Council, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare program and Birdlife Australia.