$0.000

Threats

There are three species of black cockatoo in Western Australia, all of them under threat of extinction.
Learn more about the threats putting black cockatoos at risk.

Declining Numbers

The alarming number of birds that have been lost over recent decades – especially in the WA areas – has been nothing short of alarming.  Each of the three sub-species (mentioned above) handled at our centre at Kaarakin is endangered to varying degree, Baudins most of all.

Due to the long periods involved in successfully raising young, these birds are on a loosing streak with flock numbers falling and fewer young reaching breeding status.

Black cockatoos generally lay one or two eggs in a breeding season.  However usually only one chick is reared to adulthood.

Eggs can take over a month to hatch with young birds taking up to 18 months to learn how to feed themselves.  While the mother incubates the egg the father feeds her until the hatching of the chick/s.

Seasonal events can also have a catastrophic affect on food sources and young birds.  Sudden ‘freak’ hail storms that can sweep through the city during a Perth summer in just a matter of minutes, can destroy pockets of fruit trees in the outer suburbs, other growing food sources and in fact, the birds themselves.  Droughts, flooding and high winds can also bring about casualties during the breeding season.

Formerly recorded large flocks of these bird are now increasingly uncommon.  Their steady decline is due to:

  • distruction of forests
  • fires in spring breeding season,
  • feral European honeybees and other animals taking over their nest hoolws
  • being hit by trucks/cars
  • large scale clearing in the wheatbelt and Banksia and Tuart woodlands on the Swan Coastal Plain in the Perth area

In addition to the issues of safe breeding and food sources, there is also the obvious clash of humans and birds living in such close proximity.  There are a number of phone calls received each week at Kaarakin, requesting bird rescues – injured birds stuck in trees, victims of our roads after being hit by vehicles, hitting power lines, windows of buildings, or victims of the pets people keep.

Orchardists Under Attack

Orchardists and black cockatoos – in fact at number of parrot species – have been increasingly at loggerheads in recent decades, with each desparately trying to provide for their own families (both cockatoos and farmers) and benefit from the fruits of orchards.  Unfortunately food shortages have made the birds less inclined to be shoo-ed away as their is precious little else for them to find to feed themselves and their young.

Due to the human distruction of the natural environment in the greater Perth area and beyond – clearing land for cities, homes and roads, we have encroached on the natural territory of the black cockatoos.  They naturally return to the same place each year to breed, bring up their young and feed ferociously to sustain them all during this time.

However, often they are now returning to city-scapes and suburbia, making food sources and nesting sources scarce.

Unfortunately those who have orchards can be bombarded during a period of peak growth (both in the orchards and of cockatoos themselves).  Cockatoos revel in the fields of nuts, seeds and fruits growing wherever they can find them.

The birds have the ability to cause enormous damage – stripping an orchard and leaving behind a trail of damaged trees and ruined crops in a matter of just a day or two

This can be devasting for farmers – not to mention the financial loss of a years investment.

Kaarakin is working with orchardists to help them manage the birds in a way that is safe and effective for both.  As the birds are not able to be shot, or even harmed during these interactions, some creativity is needed to keep the birds at bay.  Cockatoos are highly intelligent and can quickly learn to be unafraid of deterants such as hanging CD’s in trees to reflect light, hanging silhuettes of large birds of prey on highwires hovering above orchards, or setting of a gun-shot sound every 15 mins throughout the daylight hours.

Ideally, orchards need to be netted in a way that prevents birds (and weather events like hail) from harming crops at their most fragile periods.  However the prohibitive cost of this means farmers are rarely able to do this.

Kaarakin continues to carry out trial and research on behalf of crop-growers to try and balance the needs of both the birds left in our care in the state of WA, and the farmers providing for us with their crops.

Conflict with Human Environments

Humans have systematically moved into areas and environments previously occupied by wildlife, and a range of bird species.  Theses areas have been their feeding, nesting and breeding sites as well as perches and sustaining large flocks in their territories.  However, the vast clearing and urban building within these areas have often come into conflict with the black cockatoos.  Roads, vehilcles, buildings, powerlines, vast areas of concrete and clearance of all vegetation have brought about some collision and loss in the flocks we knew in our childhoods.

As people have moved steadily into established black cockatoo teritories there have been inevitable conflicts and fatalities for our birds.

One of the biggest problems of course, has been the clearance of vital feeding and nesting sites.  The other as been the clash of birds with ‘human infastructure’ like powerlines, buildings, fencing and farming methods that may include poisioning/fertilising and of course, roads and fast-moving vehicles.

These are relatively large birds and take longer to actually lift off and clear of the vehicle once they are started.  They are often struggling to get that initial lift when the rapidly approaching car is too fast for them and tragic collisions occur.

They are frequently in flocks which again, slows down the clearance of these birds from danger once the initial alarm has been sounded.