A Significant Breeding Population of Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos on our Doorstep!

We found four new nests in September, bringing the total number of active nests on Murchison House Station to 10!

It was a big month for the Carnaby’s Cockatoo monitoring project at Murchison House Station just outside of Kalbarri. NACCers Amanda, Jarna and Kahree set off with Birdlife WA’s new Black Cockatoo Coordinator, Dr Sam Rycken, and superstar volunteers Heather Beswick (Birdlife Midwest-Geraldton) and Robin Simkin (Geraldton Regional Herbarium Group) for a mammoth effort collect loads of data!

Jarna, Kahree and Robin conducted detailed vegetation surveys at all eight of the permanent monitoring sites that we installed back in July and everyone conducted bird community surveys in the early mornings. We recorded another 13 bird species on the Station, bringing the total bird species list for the project so far up to 65. Migratory species on the move, like the Sacred Kingfisher, helped bring the numbers up, along with some interesting sightings of breeding Barn Owls and a wandering Osprey.

We completed our final planned comprehensive search of the breeding sites and found four new hollows. When started this project, we decided that finding ten Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo nests on the station would be highly significant – and we have now find ten nests! There still seem to be about 15 pairs hanging around, so it is likely that we missed a couple.

The oldest chicks are growing up and getting feisty, growling at us when we pop the pole camera up to take a look at them.  The eggs we told you about last month have hatched into adorable balls of fluff and at least three pairs have laid eggs since we were last out.

Calum and Belinda Carruth’s Murchison House Station is proving to be a really interesting and important patch of habitat for this threatened species. While we’ve had reports that the Chapman Valley flock is on the move, they have not arrived at the Station just yet, and we did not see them anywhere on the way.

If you see any Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos with their distinctive white tail feathers and white cheeks, please let the NACC NRM Biodiversity Team know.

Dr. Amanda Bourne – Senior Conservation Planning Officer

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