Have you seen th­ese birds?

Monthly Chronicle - - Front Page - Jenny Bar­lass

Lo­cal sci­en­tists hold grave con­cerns for the fu­ture of Hornsby and Kur­ing-gai Shire’s pop­u­la­tions of gang-gang cock­a­toos and both coun­cils are ask­ing for your help to safe­guard the birds.

Loss of hol­low trees through land de­vel­op­ment where they nest seems to be the main cul­prit.

Hornsby Shire Coun­cil has part­nered with Ku-ring-gai Coun­cil and the NSW Of­fice of En­vi­ron­ment and Her­itage to cre­ate a sur­vey about the threat­ened pop­u­la­tion of cock­a­toos in the area.

“The gang-gang cock­a­toos were once wide­spread in Syd­ney, but that’s no longer the case,” Hornsby Coun­cil en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist Mark Hood said.

In 2001 the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai pop­u­la­tion was listed as en­dan­gered by the NSW Sci­en­tific Com­mit­tee and an es­ti­mated 18 to 40 pairs were thought to oc­cur. By 2008 it was es­ti­mated there had been a 44% de­cline, based on less recorded sight­ings.

“The Hornsby Kur­ing-gai area is thought to have the last breed­ing pop­u­la­tion in the Syd­ney met­ro­pol­i­tan area. Our sur­vey will help us fig­ure out how many there are and learn more about their move­ment pat­terns.”

Male gang-gang cock­a­toos, known for their bright red-headed plumage, are usu­ally found in pairs or small fam­ily groups, for­ag­ing on eu­ca­lyp­tus trees and wat­tles in for­est and wood­land ar­eas, iden­ti­fied from their dis­tinc­tive call that sounds like a creak­ing rasp.

The lo­cal pop­u­la­tion is aligned with bushland ad­ja­cent to Lane Cove Na­tional Park, bounded to the south by the M2, west by Pen­nant Hills Road, north by the Pa­cific High­way and east by Ryde Road.

Ar­eas of in­ter­est in­clude Mal­ton Road, Copeland Road and Byles Creek in Hornsby Shire, where there’ve been pre­vi­ous sight­ings, and Tur­ra­murra, South Tur­ra­murra and Wahroonga in Ku-ring-gai.

A Ku-ring-gai spokes­woman added: “Based on pre­vi­ous con­firmed sight­ings we would ex­pect fu­ture sight­ings in Ku-ring-gai to be in the vicin­ity of the Lane Cove Na­tional Park - bushland along Kiss­ing Point Road, the Com­e­narra Park­way and Browns Wa­ter­hole.”

Data from the sur­vey will be used to di­rect fu­ture de­ci­sion mak­ing re­gard­ing veg­e­ta­tion loss in the lo­cal­ity of the pop­u­la­tion, and for fur­ther stud­ies on the birds and their habi­tat on pri­vate and pub­lic land.

To com­plete the short sur­vey which will be open un­til the end of Novem­ber, go to: www. sur­vey­mon­key.com/r/ gang­gang

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