Citizen science pinpoints Carnaby's hangouts

Sep 18, 2013 by Rogini Moorthi
When BirdLife Australia surveyed Carnaby’s about 13 years ago, they received about 200 sightings of the bird. Credit: Keith Lightbody

A new citizen science project aimed at identifying the key breeding and feeding sites of the endangered Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos across the Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions could potentially aid in the species' conservation.

Birdlife Australia, which is conducting the breeding range , is urging people from across these regions to report any sightings of Carnaby's Black-Cockatoos online, between now and December.

The Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo population has declined by more than 50 per cent in the last 50 years while their range has reduced by a third.

The Carnaby's Cockatoo survey leader, Matt Fossey says by reporting their sightings, the public can help BirdLife Australia understand how the range of the species has changed, determine how many Carnaby's Cockatoos there are and where they occur.

"Presently, we know of about 15 significant breeding sites," Mr Fossey says.

"Although we do not have a good understanding of the total of the Carnaby's, we suspect there a lot of other locations across the Wheatbelt and Great Southern regions where the birds are breeding.

"Importantly, the identification of the important breeding and feeding areas would enable us to direct our on-ground recovery efforts towards those areas."

When BirdLife Australia surveyed Carnaby's about 13 years ago, they received about 200 sightings of the bird.

"Although we haven't set a target for our 2013 survey, we are hoping to receive many more sightings," Mr Fossey says.

"Once the information has been gathered, we'll get volunteers to visit these locations during the 2014 breeding season of the birds [August to December] to explore the habitat and to determine whether there are adequate resources in the vicinity."

Mr Fossey says as the birds occupy a large area across south-west WA it is difficult to identify their areas without the support of the local community.

He hopes that farmers, town residents, school kids, and groups can participate in the survey and make a significant difference to the ' survival.

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