The Carnabys black cockatoos have returned to the Wheatbelt for their breeding season.
These iconic birds are found nowhere else and return late winter to the Wheatbelt where they nest in hollows in ancient woodland trees.
Living for 40-50 years these birds have long term partnerships and return to the same area to breed each year.
The species is threatened and is facing extinction unless their very specific nesting needs can be protected.
The tree hollows they use for nesting are only found in eucalypts which are around 100 years old. As we lose more remnant vegetation and old trees the cockatoos face increased competition from more aggressive galahs, corellas and even feral bees.
The cockatoos also have specific feeding needs and must have access to banksia, hakea and grevillea species within 6km of their nesting sites. In towns they have adapted and can be found feeding on pine trees, nuts and even cape lilac trees.
At this time of year, you can see groups of ‘single’ Carnabys cockatoos flocking together but if you look closely you may see a pair preparing for their new brood.
The male feeds his partner while she prepares the nesting hollow by trimming the front entrance. You may see birds coming and going from a particular hollow or see chewed nuts and seeds on the ground.
The action we can take to ensure these cockatoos can successfully return to the Wheatbelt include:
- Protecting old trees, including dead ones with large hollows
- Planting Carnabys feed species such as banksia, grevillea and hakea
- Generally, look after our Eucalypt Woodlands especially salmon gum and wandoo woodlands.