Counting on vulnerable black cockatoos
THE Dubbo Field Naturalists began counting Glossy Black Cockatoos in Goonoo State Forest, now a national park, in 1994 after camping out there and realising that the forest was home to these vulnerable black cockatoos.
Janice Hosking is the Secretary of the Dubbo Field Naturalist and Conservation Society and coordinates this very long-term project.
“Long-term surveys are very important to establish vital information about breeding and abundance of birds, so the Dubbo Field Nats will continue to do this hopefully well into the future,” Janice said.
“Glossy black cockatoos only feed on she-oaks or casuarina seeds from the cones produced by these species, and they need large hollows in eucalypts to breed in, raising only one young per year.”
Almost 30 volunteers turned up for the recent Annual Glossy Black Cockatoo Survey, counting 260 glossies with highest counts being at Judie Peet’s dam with 85, and another dam on a private property with 49 birds recorded.
“The observers all noted juveniles, some even being fed by an adult – this breeding is either very late or very early as, according to the books, breeding starts around now and goes until about August,” Janice told Dubbo Photo News.
“Some incidents happened, with raptors soaring overhead and upsetting the glossies, a police car pulling up at one dam, and a man at Riley’s dam decided to set his yabby traps up and was yelled at, told to wait and then told it was a national park and he shouldn’t be doing that anyway!
“A mother pig and two baby pigs came in to drink at Frost’s dam and also one pig came into Cashels; that’s a first, does that mean an increase in pigs numbers?” she wondered.
Lots of wallabies and roos were reported at most dams, and a bird list of 25 different species was seen at one dam.
Volunteers also spotted a couple of Spine-tailed Swifts and lots of Common Bronzewings hanging around to go to the water.
“Thanks to everyone that did the survey this year, but I am hoping to widen the area next year to around Goonoo, and include more dams on private properties, getting the landowners involved,” Janice said.
“There are also two gravel pits I will be checking out to see if glossies drink at them. If they do then more observers will be needed, so if you have never done a survey or haven’t done one in a long while and would like to, please contact me, some sites are accessible with a two-wheel-drive car.
Anyone wanting to get involved can find the Dubbo Field Naturalist and Conservation Society online.
The job has a very pleasant upside, according to Janice: “It is a very nice just sitting in the forest.”
Colin Gibson, Nadia and Cam Vaile, Tim Hosking, Nick Hanlon and Andy Mcquie are pictured during the count of Glossy Black Cockatoos in the Goonoo area, some of which are pictured at a dam (right). PHOTOS: COURTESY OF