Vital Cockatoo Habit

Although Carnaby’s cockatoos start arriving in the Perth region in December, for some mysterious reason they do not start flying in to drink at the East Lake of Perry Lakes until mid-April.


It’s the same every year.


This year there have been a lot more Carnaby’s Cockatoos around than in previous years. Last year the average for April was 200 birds, and this year the average so far is 300 birds.


There are two roost sites in the western suburbs and by adding the roosting numbers, we find that there are over 500 Carnaby’s roosting and up to 630.


This writer suggests that the increasing numbers are due to cockatoos coming to the western suburbs having lost either their roost sites or their food resources through clearing. The Great Cocky Count Report 2014 stated that


On the Perth-Peel Coastal Plain, Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos are restricted to relatively few roost sites, many of which are associated with pines. Protection of these sites and associated feeding habitat is needed to arrest the decline of Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoos and ensure species persistence in this region. (page ii)


It is critical for Carnaby’s cockatoos that Underwood Avenue Bushland is kept as bushland. We look forward to the time when the voices of the community reach and touch the decision makers of the University.

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Red tail


Red tail dancing


‘A flight of cockatoos warned them of the approach of the enemy’


At the start of day-break, a party of soldiers set out pursuing ‘natives’ who had bivouacked near Monger’s Lake. However “a flight of cockatoos crossing at that time, with their deafening cry…warned them of the approach of an enemy.” Perth Gazette 11 May 1833.


178 years later, the three species of black cockatoo are facing extinction, and possibly within our lifetime.


The just-released 2011 Great Cocky Count Report shows that there has been a decline in Carnaby’s Cockatoo numbers of 37% on the previous year.


The decline in the number of birds using the Darling plateau was even greater than that observed on the adjacent coastal plain, with a decline between 2010 and 2011 of 80%.

There was also a decrease in the sizes of flocks. 6,672 Carnaby’s Cockatoos were counted in 2010 to 4,222 counted in 2011.

We could imagine that the state government would be alarmed to be residing over one of the greatest environmental catastrophes of all time.


Surely, our Premier and Minister for the Environment would see that the state needs to stop the clearing, burning and logging of black cockatoo habitat.


Surely, the advice given by experts over years, that cockatoos face extinction, would be finally heeded and action taken.


Not at all. The Minister for the Environment, Bill Marmion, stated that “we cannot be sure how much of the difference can be attributed to natural variation and other factors”. The mantra “The State Government recognises the importance of achieving the right balance between development and conservation” was yet again brought out.


The business as usual scenario will not assist black cockatoos. They are fighting to find enough food.


Margaret Owen, 2011.



Carnaby eating

Family of birds

family 4


Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos in Underwood Ave

two in tree

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Finishline view


The Caranby’s Cockatoo roost site at Perry Lakes has been the sleeping place for Carnaby’s over many generations.


Black cockatoo roost sites are characterised by having tall grouped trees, closeness to water and closeness to adequate food.


The amount and variety of food in Underwood Avenue Bushland supports the numbers of cockatoos in the area.


The two cockatoos photographed took advantage of the street sign ‘Finishline View’ as a convenient perch.

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