Murdoch shines in Great Cocky Count results

August 27, 2014

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A Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo at Murdoch University's South Street Campus (Pic: Keith Lightbody)

Murdoch University’s South Street Campus has been identified as a critically important habitat for two endangered species of black cockatoo by Birdlife Australia after topping the tables in the annual Great Cocky Count.

More than 70 university volunteers counted 433 black cockatoos across the campus on April 6 – 234 Carnaby’s Cockatoos and 199 Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos. Murdoch had the highest Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo count in the metro area and one of the highest Carnaby’s counts in the Perth-Peel region.

The University’s sustainability officer Leah Knapp said she was pleased with the survey results and that Murdoch would continue to strive to attract more of the birds onto campus.

“These are iconic birds in Western Australia and they are endemic to the South-West corner of our state so we are thrilled to see that the measures we’ve introduced are working,” she said.

The University has planted Banksias and various Eucalypts to try and attract black cockatoos to campus. Wildlife corridors, native landscaping, reserves and extensive replanting have also been introduced.

“We have received grants to purchase and install nest boxes and two Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos have successfully been hatched in them,” said Ms Knapp.

“We’ve also identified the areas where the birds roost and are working to protect those areas in the long term.”

The Great Cocky Count is organised by BirdLife Australia and DAFWA to help them determine the size of the cockatoo population in the greater Perth region.

Dr Hugh Finn, the Great Cocky Count Coordinator said that the South Street Campus was unique in sustaining large numbers of both Carnaby’s Cockatoos and Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos.

“Murdoch offers a vital refuge for these threatened birds – here they find food, water and a safe place to roost at night. The Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos even breed in the artificial nest hollows installed on campus.

“With the restoration work at Murdoch, we see the shape of a truly sustainable university – one that supports thousands of students and staff as well as hundreds of black cockatoos. It’s a really inspiring vision for the future of the University and these amazing birds.”

The final report on the full Great Cocky Count 2014 is available here.

Comments (3 responses)

Stacy August 30, 2014

Excellent news! I enjoy parking at South St. Campus around dawn and witnessing the black cockies put on their morning chorus.

ian ward November 25, 2014

Help We have had about 30 black cockatoos camping in our large gums in Gooseberry Hill for a month . The destruction is unbelievable, can we move them on

Leah Knapp December 3, 2014

Hi, thank you for your comment! It sounds as though you have the perfect conditions for cockatoo to be roosting or feeding at your place, and particularly in the metropolitan area this is very important. Black cockatoos are so special and unique to WA that they're protected by State and Federal laws, as they are an endangered species. Don't worry about whether the cockies are harming your gum trees- in fact they're providing a free pruning service, which ensures the trees get lots of healthy new growth.

If the cockies are regularly roosting overnight at your place, perhaps you would be interested in taking part in the largest citizen science project in Australia, the Great Cocky Count, in April 2015. It's like Census Night for cockatoos throughout the south west. Check out the Birdlife Australia website for more information, and to sign up…

if you'd like more information about Black Cockatoos and their habitats, check out the WA Museum Fact Sheets for Carnaby's or for Forest Red Tailed Black Cockatoos

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