Hollows old and new | Tuesday, 17 January 2023
Two of our initiatives — to repair and refurbish artificial nesting hollows that were installed years ago, and also to set up new ones — have provided breeding opportunities that Endangered Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos need so desperately, combatting a shortage of natural hollows in key parts of the species’ range across parts of Western Australia.
Repairing and renovating old artificial hollows
While there is currently a big focus on installing new artificial hollows for black-cockatoos to aid their breeding, the maintenance and repair of existing artificial hollows is commonly overlooked. Nevertheless, maintenance of old hollows is essential to ensure that they remain viable breeding options for Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos. If they fall into disrepair, they may actually become dangerous for cockies trying to breed in them. The focus of this intervention was the Newdegate region in Western Australia’s Wheatbelt.
The refurbishment of black-cockatoo hollows involves a number of key factors:
Installing new artificial hollows
In just its second year, ‘Adopt a Cocky Nest’ has already seen success, with ever increasing numbers of artificial nest hollows being used by Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos.
The scheme began in 2021 to install artificial hollows in known breeding locations. Our initial aim was to install 24 hollows on private properties across the Bullsbrook, Bindoon and Chittering regions — all well-known Carnaby’s breeding locations — for the cockies to nest in, but instead we raised sufficient funds to meet our initial target, plus an extra 15 hollows.
Back in 2021, just a few months after the artificial nests were installed, we confirmed that five of them were being used for Carnaby’s breeding, with either one or two eggs in each of the active hollows. Several Carnaby’s were also found breeding in natural hollows, either in the same trees as artificial hollows or in trees nearby.
This breeding season — just our second — saw additional birds nesting in the hollows.
This time we observed six of our hollows being used by breeding Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos: one contained a single egg; another two had two eggs (and there was a 7-week-old chick found in a natural hollow in the same tree as one of them); two had an egg and a chick; and one had a single 5-week-old chick.
Hopefully, over time, the Carnaby’s will continue to discover the artificial hollows and make use of them — sometimes hollows can remain unused for up to 10 years before Carnaby’s breed in them for the first time!
Providing new hollows and repairing old ones provide an essential component (among a range of conservation actions) in our overall strategy to drive the recovery of Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo populations (and those of other threatened black-cockatoos) in Western Australia.
Five Australian shorebirds, and many species of seabirds, rely on coastal habitats for nesting. Loss of coastal habitats and recreational pressures are taking a devastating toll.
The Australian Shorebird Monitoring Project provides vital information on shorebird declines in Australia and the factors that may cause them. The database comprises the most complete shorebird count data available in Australia and helps to uncover significant population changes over the long term.
Small terns depend on both the marine and coastal terrestrial environment, foraging out at sea but roosting and nesting on nearby shores. Our smallest terns, the Little and Fairy Terns, are both vulnerable to extinction.
Subscribe for the latest conservation news, upcoming events, opportunities, and special offers.