WA Landcare group provides 'cockatubes' to the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board's Glossy Black-cockatoo Recovery Program

NEXT GENERATION: A black-cockatoo hatchling is evidence the recovery program is working on Kangaroo Island. Photo: Karleah Berris
NEXT GENERATION: A black-cockatoo hatchling is evidence the recovery program is working on Kangaroo Island. Photo: Karleah Berris

The bushfires that swept across several states in Australia during the summer of 2019-20 resulted in a huge amount of native animal habitat being burnt.

This served to further hamper the recovery of native species that were already suffering from the effects of habitat loss or degradation before the fires.

One of the endangered species on Kangaroo Island that were significantly impacted by the recent bushfires is the glossy black-cockatoo.

The Kangaroo Island population had significant amounts of both feeding and nesting habitat burnt, with numerous nest hollows in old-age Eucalypts and nesting boxes that had been put up during the decades of conservation work being destroyed.

NEW HOME: One of the new 'cockatube' homes for the black-cockatoo recovery program is installated on Kangaroo Island. Photo: KI Landscape Board

NEW HOME: One of the new 'cockatube' homes for the black-cockatoo recovery program is installated on Kangaroo Island. Photo: KI Landscape Board

The Landcare Serpentine-Jarrahdale (SJ) group in Western Australia sprang into action and, through the generous support of community and nestbox component suppliers, provided forty-two 'cockatubes' to the KI Landscape Board's Glossy Black-cockatoo Recovery Program.

These cockatubes act as an artificial breeding hollow for the glossies and have been used for other birds, including Carnaby's black-cockatoos in south-west Western Australia.

They are slightly larger than the nest boxes traditionally built by the Glossy Black-cockatoo Recovery Program.

KI Landscape Board spokesperson said the Serpentine-Jarrahdale Landcare group was also kind enough to modify them to include an all-weather roof for our glossies, which nest over autumn and winter during months of high rainfall.

NEST BOX: A juvenile peeps out of one of the nest boxes. Photo: KI Landscape Board

NEST BOX: A juvenile peeps out of one of the nest boxes. Photo: KI Landscape Board

The cockatubes were transported across the Nullabor by the Department of Defence.

Twenty-four have been installed thus far across Kangaroo Island at sites where glossies are known to nest and also to help accommodate an expanding eastern flock outside of the burn area.

The KI Landscape Board has been running conservation programs for glossy black-cockatoos for many years; this knowledge and experience was crucial for glossy recovery in the aftermath of the bushfires.

Landcare SJ chairperson Jane Brown was delighted to hear the KI cockatoos are taking to the new nest box designs well, and were found to be using them within months of their installation.

"It was fitting that we could support the Kangaroo Island recovery effort, given our initial 2005 design was informed by an artificial nest box program for Glossy Black Cockatoos on KI," she said.

"Landcare SJ are overwhelmed by the uptake and breeding success of the cockatube hollows installed there over the past 12 months."

The Landcare SJ group, a not-for-profit community environmental association south of Perth, designed the cockatube in 2005 with the assistance of ornithologists at the WA Museum.

Suitable natural hollows take up to 230 years to form - this artificial version is considered to provide optimal breeding conditions for all species of black cockatoo in decline across Australia.

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