Have you seen these birds?

Jenny Barlass

Take part in backyard survey to help preserve the Gang Gang Cockatoo

Local scientists hold grave concerns for the future of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai Shire’s populations of gang-gang cockatoos and both councils are asking for your help to safeguard the birds.

Loss of hollow trees through land development where they nest seems to be the main culprit.

Hornsby Shire Council has partnered with Ku-ring-gai Council and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to create a survey about the threatened population of cockatoos in the area.

“The gang-gang cockatoos were once widespread in Sydney, but that’s no longer the case,” Hornsby Council environmental scientist Mark Hood said.

In 2001 the Hornsby Ku-ring-gai population was listed as endangered by the NSW Scientific Committee and an estimated 18 to 40 pairs were thought to occur. By 2008 it was estimated there had been a 44% decline, based on less recorded sightings.

“The Hornsby Ku-ring-gai area is thought to have the last breeding population in the Sydney metropolitan area. Our survey will help us figure out how many there are and learn more about their movement patterns.” 

Male gang-gang cockatoos, known for their bright red-headed plumage, are usually found in pairs or small family groups, foraging on eucalyptus trees and wattles in forest and woodland areas, identified from their distinctive call that sounds like a creaking rasp.

The local population is aligned with bushland adjacent to Lane Cove National Park, bounded to the south by the M2, west by Pennant Hills Road, north by the Pacific Highway and east by Ryde Road.

Areas of interest include Malton Road, Copeland Road and Byles Creek in Hornsby Shire, where there’ve been previous sightings, and Turramurra, South Turramurra and Wahroonga in Ku-ring-gai.

A Ku-ring-gai spokeswoman added:  “Based on previous confirmed sightings we would expect future sightings in Ku-ring-gai to be in the vicinity of the Lane Cove National Park – bushland along Kissing Point Road, the Comenarra Parkway and Browns Waterhole.”

Data from the survey will be used to direct future decision making regarding vegetation loss in the locality of the population, and for further studies on the birds and their habitat on private and public land.

To complete the short survey which will be open until the end of November, go to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/ganggang

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