Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos nesting

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Subject: Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos nesting
From: "Neil KIRBY" <>
Date: Wed, 4 Jan 2006 23:16:16 +1100

This evening I saw three pairs of Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos at their nesting sites in Blue Gum Swamp, Winmalee. (80km west of Sydney). One pair was accompanied by another bird (probably from a previous nesting). The male fed the hen which then flew to the nest tree and backed itself down into the hollow to feed the nestling while the parent male and the other bird flew to branches close to the hollow and waited for the hen to emerge. The male parent did not show any aggression towards this other bird. While this feeding was occurring another pair flew into the area and landed in a tree about 50m from the other nest site, but they became alarmed at my presence and flew back up the slope to another tree where that male started to fed the female. I left the area immediately and after having walked out about 200m I saw another male feeding a female which then flew to a hollow of a dead Blue Gum. She watched me and waited at the edge of the hollow as I walked out of her sight. At the same time three more YTBC flew in from the north, heading up the creek towards Winmalee. Finally as I started to walk out up the track a single YTCB flew into the valley calling loudly but by this time it was too dark to determine its sex. Judging by its behaviour it was possibly a male heading into its nesting area.

This last spring and summer has unfortunately not been so successful for Gang-gang Cockatoos. Last October I witnessed a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos forcibly take over a hollow that had been prepared by a pair of Gang-gangs. I have not seen any crèches of young Gang-gangs that were common in previous years after successful nesting.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos have almost reached pest proportions in the valley and I wonder if authorities should perhaps consider culling them or allowing controled trapping and export.

Glossy Black-Cockatoos were regular breeders in Blue Gum Swamp up until the 1994 bushfire, but I have not recorded any breeding since. Nearly all the Allocasuarina littoralis were killed by the bushfire and regeneration has been very slow. Unfortunately a large stand of regenerating trees growing beside the track up to Bees Nest Hill were destroyed last spring by hazard reduction burning. I fail to understand how burning this area could possibly reduce the risk to houses which would have to be at least 6km away. Allocasuarina torulosa appear to recover from bushfires by means of epicormic and lignotuberous shoots and are able to produce fruit sooner than seedling A. littoralis. However there are not very many A. torolusa in Blue Gum Swamp.The birds appear to need sheoks close to their nesting sites for the females to feed in before they commence incubating and while they are waiting for the males to fly in from greater distances to feed them.



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