DID YOU KNOW
Almost every morning Forest Red-tailed Black-cockatoos fly east the 350 meters from their roost site into Underwood Bushland.
They fly in twos, threes, fours or bigger groups.
The groups of three are mother, father and youngster.
Unlike the Carnaby’s Cockatoos, the red-tails do not leave the area to breed. Five years ago, some red-tails came out of the forest and have stayed on the Swan Coastal Plain since then.
Recently a youngster, only about two weeks out of the nest, flew with his parents into Underwood Bushland.
His parents were very attentive. He has a lot to learn and needs the protection of his parents. Red-tails are breeding around the area an shave been seen mating. Young red-tails and young Carnaby’s Cockatoos can fly very well, but skills relating to feeding themselves are lacking.Young perch on a branch calling insistently, aah,aah,aah,aah in the hope that they will be fed.
The young are fed by regurgitation, where an adult regurgitates food beak to beak.
Almost all cockatoos (and parrots) are left footed.
There is some overlap in food preferences between Carnaby’s Cockatoos and Forest Red-tailed Black-cockatoos. For example both eat the seeds of Marri trees. However both species have substantially different food preferences. Red-tails love eating Jarrah seeds and this explains their daily forays into Underwood Avenue Bushland. After the last tremendously devastating fire, the Jarrah trees retained their seed-bearing nuts which fed the red-tails. Now, seventeen months later, new jarrah nuts have grown, and the red-tails are eating from the newly grown nuts.
Carnaby’s eat the nectar and the seeds of Banksias and Hakeas, and pull bark and beak-fuls of parts of branches off Acacias and Tuarts to find insect larvae. Inside the trunks the larvae can move up and down inside the branch and the cockatoos have to strip the wood to follow the larvae.
By a wonderful circumstance, one species of Banksia flowers over the period when Carnaby’s Cockatoos are around Perth, and another species of Banksia has finished flowering and is bearing seed. So this variety of nutritious food – the nectar, and the seeds, is available over the whole bushland areas.
Banksia Woodlands are ancient, rare and understudied. Banksia Woodlands are to be proud of.
A fossil Banksia cone, almost identical to today’s Banksia attenuata, was found in Western Australia and is dated at at least 50 million years.
“We live in one of the most biodiverse places in the world, but nobody knows it” says Professor Hans Lambert.
An adult Carnaby’s was seen to extract a big fat white caterpillar from an Acacia and swallow it. Then he climbed up the trunk so that he was above the juvenile and regurgitated it into the juvenile’s beak.
To every thing, there is a season, and cockatoos know when particular foods are ready for consumption.