Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos in Doubleview

About twenty Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos made themselves at home for ten minutes in our garden this warm, mid-autumn morning. I heard their unmistakable raucous calls well before I saw them through the window of my study.

A lone Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo

They circled the tree on the road verge several times. Then the whole flock swooped and perched in the tree, still calling noisily. A couple, perhaps braver than the rest, flew to the fence. They drank from the water bowl on the post  before the others joined them. Soon, with no room around the water, a few strutted along the railings , waiting for their turn.

I grabbed the camera from the hall stand and crept outside to begin snapping, not wanting to scare them and wishing I had better photography skills to capture these amazing birds as they moved almost onto our porch. They seemed oblivious to the human standing there.

Carnaby’s Back Cockatoos in tree

Crowding the water bowl

Waiting their turn

People seem to love or hate the Black Cockatoos. One of my granddaughters complained bitterly about the noise they made in the trees outside her apartment in Nedlands, near Kings Park.  A friend commiserated with me because she believes the parrots cause destruction to suburban trees and gardens. She appeared surprised that I’d been so happy to see them. In fact, I assured her, it was a rare treat.

Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos are endemic to a wide swathe of country in the South-West of Western Australia. They build nests and breed  in ‘nesting hollows’ high in trees usually growing in eucalyptus forests in drier, inland areas, where seeds, which make up the major part of their diet, are abundant in late spring and summer. In autumn, the birds move to coastal regions.

They are recognised as an endangered species under both the Australian federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.  Authorities estimate their population is declining at around 10% each year.

Developers wishing to clear land for housing or other purposes run the risk of their proposals being declined by local government authorities because of the possible threat to these birds. Many people protest vociferously when the birds are endangered.

Threats to Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos 

Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos are vulnerable to extinction through many causes.

  • They do not breed prolifically and have a long period of immaturity.
  • Clearance of land (for agriculture and for housing in the wide-spread metropolitan area) decimates their habitat.
  • Felling native seed-bearing trees reduces the birds available food. The cockatoos have adapted their diet to include seeds ‘pine trees in plantations around Perth, but now these, also, are being cleared.
  • The birds nest in hollows high in trees with a large diameter generally Eucalyptus. The loss of nesting hollows because of clearing and bush fires has led to competition from other species.
  • Outbreaks of disease, spread through their flock-forming habits, kill some birds.
  • Climate change, which is predicted to increase in South-Western Australia, includes natural events like hail storms and heat waves which can kill Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos.
  • Flying into open space over roads as they leave vegetation puts the birds in the path of oncoming vehicles.
  • They are sometimes poached for trade overseas.

After my experience this morning, I begin to see why a person could become fascinated with bird-watching, as well as wanting highly developed photography skills to capture the allure of these birds.

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2 thoughts on “Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos in Doubleview

  1. I love Black Cockatoos. They’re shamelessly loud. (Also, I’m the wife of a bird-watcher so maybe that’s rubbing off on me?!) Your photos are wonderful …. how lovely that you had such a visit from the flock of cockatoos!

    • It seems people either love or hate Black Cockatoos, Fiona. Thanks for your comment, especially about the photos. I can’t wait for another visit!

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