Endangered birds found nesting near Kalbarri

Staff reporterGeraldton Guardian
A Carnaby's black cockatoo.
Camera IconA Carnaby's black cockatoo. Credit: Heather Beswick

The endangered Carnaby’s black cockatoos have been found breeding near Kalbarri for the first time since the 1990s.

BirdLife Australia’s Black Cockatoo program coordinator Adam Peck said their population had declined by 35 per cent in the past decade.

“When researchers from BirdLife Australia heard about potential breeding activity in the area they jumped at the opportunity to investigate,” he said.

“After two fruitless days of searching in rugged terrain, they almost gave up hope, but on the last morning they found their prize — an occupied nest with an egg.”

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Mr Peck said this single nest was a very significant find, since Kalbarri was right on the northern edge of this endangered species’ range — 280 km north of the nearest known, current breeding site.

“We often hear about the impacts of climate change and the range of species like Carnaby’s contracting,” he said.

“We estimate that at least 12 pairs of Carnaby’s are breeding up here and they seem to be thriving, with plenty of nest hollows, food and water”.

Northern Agricultural Catchments Council project officer Jarna Kendle was also excited at the news.

“This discovery is an amazing way to kick start our new Protecting WA Black-Cockatoos project,” she said.

“One of the main aims of the project is to locate new sites, so to find such an important one so soon is really exciting”.

Mr Peck said the find would open up many opportunities for further research such as more surveys, leg banding, genetics work and satellite tracking.

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