Saturday, 14 September 2013

Coomallo nest monitoring

I have spent the last week involved in monitoring Carnaby's cockatoo nest hollows at Coomallo north of Perth. The site is an important breeding area and has been studied since the 1960s. It was fantastic to be involved in such a long running study and to spend time with those involved who have such an intimate knowledge of the species. Discussions in the field and over a well earned drink and meal at the end of each day were always productive 'food for thought' and well timed for me at the end of the data collection phase of my project.

Carnaby's cockatoo chick about to be measured and leg banded

My main task was to determine if any hen flushed from its nest was banded and if so to photograph them. With the right camera gear and some patience it is possible to capture images that enable the numbers on the band to be read and the individual to be identified. An example is in the photo below.

Female "01790"

Every band is exciting because normally a 'band return' is only achieved when an individual is found dead. Most were banded as chicks so we know where they came from and how old they are too. The female in the photo is over 20 years old and returns to the same or nearby hollow each year to breed.

I didn't spot any of my study birds during the trip though. Maybe next time?