Count­ing on vul­ner­a­ble black cock­a­toos

Dubbo Photo News - - Environment - By JOHN RYAN

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.”

Above:

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

DAVID WALKER

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