Egg-cellent discovery near Coorow

Dedicated NACC Notes readers may recall this time last year when our Biodiversity Coordinator Jessica Stingemore lost and then found a camera used to search tree hollows for bird life.

You can read all about her adventure here, but to cut a long story short, Jessica was helped out of the sticky situation by some fantastic local community members.

One year later and it was once again time to monitor the wonderful Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) near Coorow. Earlier this week Jessica joined BirdLife WA volunteers John Koch and John Lauri at Koobabbie, a 7,200-hectare farm near Coorow.

Koobabbie is a 7,200-hectare farm near Coorow
Koobabbie is a 7,200-hectare farm near Coorow

Alison Doley is the owner of Kobabbie and her commitment to preserving the environment grew from the relatively large amount of original native vegetation that still remains on her farm. About 60 per cent of the property is arable while the remainder is made up of uncleared salt lakes and belts of remnant woodland. This woodland is fenced-off from livestock and reserved for natural flora and fauna.

For the last 14 years, dedicated volunteers have been joining Alison to monitor the tree hollows on her property for any signs of Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo breeding. This season approximately 80 hollows were checked with the help of BirdLife’s WA CockyCam. The CockyCam is a small wireless inspection camera attached to the end of a telescopic pole, which allows people to safely view the inside of tree hollows while not disturbing any potential occupants.

This year seven female Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo were recorded nesting in old growth hollows, six of which had eggs.
Three of these birds were found in artificial tree hollows – which is a great success story in itself.

 

Other interesting finds in the hollows included:
o Kestrel eggs
o Corella chicks
o Regent parrot chicks and eggs
o A sleepy barn owl
o A (dead) Australian Shelduck
o Regurgitated owl pellets
o Huntsman spiders.

Jessica said she was always inspired by the dedication of community volunteers and privileged to be invited to join their NRM adventures.

“Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos are an iconic species of Southwest Australia,” she said. “Sadly though they are also threatened so it is important that we do what we can to help the species.

“I would like to thank young John, old John (and his wife Heather), plus our gracious host Alison for the passion and joy in protecting our species. I am already looking forward to next year.”

If you would like to know more about how you can help Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, please contact Jessica Stingemore on [email protected] or 9938 0106.

Threats

The main threats to Black-Cockatoos include the following:

  • Ongoing and extensive breeding and foraging habitat loss and degradation due to vegetation clearing.
  • Nest hollow shortages and a lack of regeneration of potential nest trees due to ongoing vegetation clearing, fire, altered hydrology, salinization, grazing, weed invasion, climate change, and Phytophthora dieback.
  • Competition for limited nest hollows with other black cockatoos, galahs, corellas, Australian shelducks, wood ducks, and feral European honey bees.
  • Illegal shooting.
  • Death and injury resulting from vehicle collisions.
  • Reduced food and water availability due to inappropriate fire regimes, wild fires, and climate change.

 

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