Time to shine for Glossy Black-Cockatoos

Glossy Black-Cockatoos are one of Australia’s smallest and rarest cockatoos, affectionately known as Glossies. Unfortunately this special bird is at risk.

Loss of feeding and breeding habitat due to clearing, including wholescale vegetation removal, understorey and midstory removal and loss of hollow-bearing trees, is a primary concern.

The added threats of wildfire and drought, exacerbated by climate change, is already having an impact.

Call to help count Glossy Black-Cockatoos this Birding Day

This is your chance to help. Every year, the Glossy Black Conservancy calls on bird lovers to help count Glossies at its annual Birding Day.

After a hiatus in 2020 due to COVID-19, the group has announced a return of its Birding Day where members of the community will have the opportunity to observe and record birds in the wild.

This year, organisers would like to get the most comprehensive census to date, but to do this, they need more volunteers to visit more locations than ever before.

The 2021 Glossy Black-Cockatoo Birding Day will take place over two days on 11 and 12 September to give even more people the chance to be involved.

Volunteers can participate at a location of their choice. This could be on their own properties, a local park or they can be allocated a location.

All the data collected is reported to a central portal and will be used to inform the protection and management of Glossy Black-Cockatoo habitat and guide further scientific research to build our knowledge and understanding of the species.

The Birding Day is an opportunity to not only assess the status of the region’s Glossies, but to get the community involved in a fun citizen science event. The day also provides a chance to gather information on the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on the birds and their habitats.

Upon registration, volunteers are provided with a welcome pack which includes data recording sheets to use during the Birding Day.

Register to volunteer at bit.ly/GBCvolunteer.

Training events are also taking place across the region to support volunteers to identify birds and their feed trees in the wild. Workshop details can be found at glossyblack.org.au/glossy-black-cockatoo-workshops/.

 

The Glossy Black Conservancy

The Glossy Black Conservancy is increasing awareness protection and conservation of Glossy Black-Cockatoos across South East Queensland and North Eastern New South Wales.

The Conservancy’s members include government agencies, private enterprise, researchers and the community who work together to conduct research, gather data and develop guidelines which will help protect this charismatic bird.

Healthy Land and Water Principal Scientist Liz Gould was involved in establishing the Conservancy and has contributed to its growth since 2005.

“Healthy Land and Water’s involvement in the Glossy Black Conservancy is achieving fantastic outcomes for this threatened species.” she said.

Glossies are “a dichotomy”, according to Liz.

“They can be hidden figures in our landscape, quietly persisting deep within our forests where they are little seen or heard,” she says. “Yet by contrast, they also appear comfortable feeding in exposed and sparse stands of she-oaks in parkland, school grounds and roadside verges.”

For more than a decade, the Conservancy has operated an online tool for people to report sightings of the Glossy Black-Cockatoo. More than 8000 sightings have been reported on the website to date.

The online tool provides partners with up-to-date data about the bird, their nesting and feeding sites and movements across the region.

More than 1400 volunteers have participated in past Birding Days where everyday people can work alongside scientists and council officers to observe the bird in the wild.

Liz says the birds are a fascinating species known for being fussy eaters. “Glossies feed on she-oaks commonly found in the early stages of ecosystem succession, yet require mature, 100+ year old trees with hollows for nesting,” she explains. “They’re fussy about food, feeding only on a few she-oak species and only 10% of those fruiting, and yet will drink water from almost any source, provided they have easy access and a clear vantage point for danger.

“A handy point for bird spotters is that Glossies leave a trail of she-oak cone crumbs, known as orts, which makes it relatively easy to find where they feed, though finding their nest sites is incredibly difficult.”

 

Healthy Land and Water – a 15 year dedication

Healthy Land and Water, the natural resource management group for South East Queensland has been a dedicated partner to the Conservancy since its inception in 2005. Involvement in the Conservancy isn’t the only way the organisation is working to support Glossy Black-Cockatoo conservation efforts.

“We’ve developed mapping which is used by governments to protect Glossy Black-Cockatoo habitat and guide further surveys and research,” Liz said.

“Healthy Land and Water also seeks and provides funding to support on-ground conservation of habitat, including weed control, fire management and planting of she-oaks and other nest tree species.”

For more information, please contact birdingday@glossyblack.org.au.

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