Carnaby’s numbers still down

By BirdLife Australia, Fri, 17/08/2012 - 00:56
BirdLife Australia’s (BirdLife Partner) 2012 Great Cocky Count has found that numbers of Endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo in the Perth Region are still lower than reported in 2010. The Great Cocky Count, organised by BirdLife Australia in partnership with the Department of Environment and Conservation, counts as many Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos as possible on a single night each year in April. This year’s count was at sunset on 15 April. BirdLife Australia’s WA Program Manager, Cheryl Gole, said, “The latest results show a 40 per cent decrease since 2010 in the number of Carnaby’s counted at night roosts in the Swan Region, which includes the Perth metropolitan area. The minimum population size in the Swan Region was only 4000 Carnaby’s this year, similar to 2011, compared to 6700 in 2010. This suggests that numbers are still down in the region.” The Swan Region provides critical winter feeding habitat for northern and western populations of the cockatoos. The 2012 count shows there is a decrease in the number of active roosts south of the Swan River. “While all the reasons for the decreased number of Carnaby’s are not clear, habitat clearance has to be an important factor,” said Ms Gole. Pressure on cockatoo habitat in the Perth and Peel Region will increase because of our rapidly growing population and increasing housing requirements. BirdLife Australia believes increasing habitat clearance is the greatest threat to the species and that the remaining cockatoo habitat in the Perth and Peel Region is critical for the survival of Carnaby’s and must be protected. “The Great Cocky Count is important as it allows us to monitor what is happening with the cockatoos. We don’t have long-term information yet and it is imperative that we continue the counts to understand the changes we are seeing”. Tamara Kabat, the Count’s organiser, said, “The Great Cocky Count is a fantastic community-driven event. Monitoring over 200 sites on a single night across south-west WA can’t be done without dedicated volunteers. The number of people willing to put up their hands to count the much-loved cockatoos this year was overwhelming”. “Many people are looking for ways they can help protect the cockatoos. Taking part in surveys such as the Great Cocky Count is just one way they can help. New roost sites have been reported across south-west Australia, including one outside Esperance of over 1000 cockatoos. However, we know there are more sites out there, and we’re asking everyone to tell us about night-time roost locations for all cockatoos”, she said. To get involved or to pass on information about new cockatoo roost locations, contact Tamara Kabat on (08) 9287 2204 or greatcockycount@birdlife.org.au The full 2012 report will be available on the BirdLife Australia website in September.



Cockies all nest in hollow trees as do Parrots and other native birds, as well as various arboreal Marsupials. This habit depends on old trees and ubiquitous forests. Hence a vast supply of tree hollows are essential forever. Predators are persistently eating birds and bird eggs. Goannas climb high into trees hunting in the hollows for eggs and hatch-lings to eat. Hawks and Owls probe tree hollows with their talons to retrieve young birds. Each feral cat may eat on average, a dozen birds and eggs every week. Possums and Gliders eat birds eggs from nests in the trees and also compete for hollow trees to nest in. Pythons are a native reptile but many of them were people's pets that have been released in the wild. Basically there needs to be far more trees with hollows than the number in which Cocky nests are extant. Otherwise every hollow is hunted annually and the predators can rely on success by simply repeating the same exercise. A problem is that farmers and loggers cut down old trees.

River red gums are a prominent species of tree in Australia. They shed their branches, in fact the early Australian pioneers called them "widow makers." When the river red gums shed their branches, it creates cavities, which are used by birds and marsupials for nesting. One of the chief predators, is the lace monitor, the second largest lizard in the world, after the Komodo dragons. Lace monitors will climb up river red gums, and search out the cavities for marsupials, and bird eggs and chicks.

Interesting! I hope that everyone has a great and safe weekend!

Woodpeckers are not found in Australia, so the black-cockatoos fill that niche. Instead of pecking into the wood to find insects, the black-cockatoos rip into the bark to find the insects that they eat.

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