Encouraging life into your garden: planting for black cockatoos

I just had one of those awesome moments, as I watched a black cockatoo drink from my new birdbath for the first time. And I thought I’d share some big tips for getting these wonderful and rare birds into your garden…

First pageHelp save an entire species, and get free help in the garden in exchange? That’s a deal that’s hard to refuse!

We’re talking about the Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris). Of the three black cockatoo species in the South-West of Western Australia, Carnaby’s is the most threatened, listed as ‘Endangered’ under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. These cheeky birds, punctuating Perth skies with their raucous ‘wee-lar’ calls during the first half of each year, are up against tough odds. They breed in the wheatbelt, using hollows in mature trees as nests to raise their chicks. In some areas more than 90% of the native vegetation has been cleared. After breeding they return to the coastal plain, where widespread clearing for urban areas and agriculture has caused a dramatic loss of feed habitat.

Numbers of this iconic species have halved since the 1960s, they have vanished from one-third of their former range, and it is thought that most of the birds we see today are too old to breed. Will our children or grandchildren farewell the last of these beautiful birds? Continue reading

Helping preschool kids appreciate the biodiversity at their doorstep – a mini-library to connect to nature

For people to want to change something, they’ve got to care. And to care, they have to understand. And what better time to start raising that understanding than when they are kids? Cue my mini-library to connect kids with local biodiversity issues.

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Who dug that burrow? My hubby and daughter in Dryandra.

I’ve just returned from a weekend camping in the wonderful Dryandra Woodland, one of the few places where Western Australia’s mammal emblem, the numbat, still exists in the wild. Dryandra also boasts two predator-free fenced enclosures at a site called Barna Mia. Barna Mia houses six nocturnal species, many now extinct on the mainland, and only one of which I’ve ever seen outside of fenced sanctuaries. All we needed to make the weekend perfect were books. Continue reading