Yanchep: rehabilitated Carnaby’s white tail black cockatoos to be returned to the wild

Wildlife officer Karen Smith from Department of Parks and Wildlife at Native Animal Rescue in Malaga. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Volunteer Lizzie Helliwell. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Karen Smith (wildlife officer with the Department of Parks and Wildlife) and volunteer Lizzie Helliwell. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Michael Jones (Black Cockatoo team leader) and volunteer Lizzie Helliwell. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Native Animal Rescue in Malaga. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Native Animal Rescue in Malaga. Picture: Martin Kennealey
Wildlife officer Karen Smith from Department of Parks and Wildlife at Native Animal Rescue in Malaga. Picture: Martin Kennealey Volunteer Lizzie Helliwell. Picture: Martin Kennealey Karen Smith (wildlife officer with the Department of Parks and Wildlife) and volunteer Lizzie Helliwell. Picture: Martin Kennealey Michael Jones (Black Cockatoo team leader) and volunteer Lizzie Helliwell. Picture: Martin Kennealey Native Animal Rescue in Malaga. Picture: Martin Kennealey Native Animal Rescue in Malaga. Picture: Martin Kennealey

ABOUT 10 rehabilitated Carnaby’s white tail black cockatoos will return to the wild in Yanchep this afternoon.

Native Animal Rescue (NAR) group and the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPAW) will co-ordinate today’s release of the endangered birds at Yanchep National Park.

“There is usually a flock that comes in to roost so we are hoping to release our birds to join the wild flock,” group black cockatoo team leader Michael Jones said.

Department wildlife officer Karen Smith, Mr Jones and half a dozen volunteers helped catch the birds for banding and DNA testing at the Malaga centre yesterday.

Many of the birds came to the centre after receiving treatment at Perth Zoo for injuries caused by vehicle strikes or illness and spent an average of 12 months in rehabilitation.

Mr Jones said about 20 volunteers worked with the cockatoos, providing fresh foliage, seeds and water daily, and monitoring their recovery.

“We normally do the releases once a year at this time when it is cooler,” he said.

Mrs Smith said before catching the birds, they observed them flying through the aviary to make sure there were no outstanding injuries.

“They are in this aviary to maintain their fitness,” she said.

“It’s a good thing when they are hard to catch because that means they are fit and healthy.”

Once they catch each bird, they check its microchip and record data such as its weight, take DNA samples and fit a numbered band on its right leg.

“We give every bird a leg band with a unique number so if they are sighted in the wild, we can track their movements,” Mrs Smith said.

“We introduce them back to their known roosting areas.

“The tracking stats have shown that some of the older birds go straight back to known areas; the younger birds tend to join existing flocks in the areas we release them.”

Mrs Smith said every injured or sick black cockatoo had to go to Perth Zoo for treatment initially, then went to a rehabilitation centre to recover.

Mr Jones said most of the birds that were part of the latest release had been injured in vehicle strikes across Perth, including Joondalup, Hillarys, Wanneroo, Swan View, Swanbourne and Beechboro.

There was also one bird found in Belhus that had been shot and some had neurological issues but no signs of injury, so may have eaten poisonous food.

Mrs Smith said if people saw or photographed birds with leg bands, they could report the number, location and date to the department to help it track the birds’ movements.

For more information, visit www.dpaw.wa.gov.au.

Call the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 to report sick, injured or orphaned native animals, or snake removal.

For more information on volunteering at NAR, visit nativeanimalrescue.org.au or call 9249 3434.

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