Courting cockatoos

This is the time of year when black cockatoos preen their quiffs in the hope of attracting a mate, says Susanna Bradshaw, chief executive for the Australian Foundation for Parks and Wildlife.

Ms Bradshaw is urging bird lovers in the Hills to make their back yards more inviting and a safer place for native animals.

Encourage black cockatoos into gardens by planting favourite foods such as casuarinas, native pine trees, banksias and tall eucalypts.

�Don�t get the wrong idea about these show-off males. They are not just about looks, they�re also very intelligent and loving,� Ms Bradshaw said.

�The cockatoo pair will mate for life, which can be over 50 years, and they will care for each other into their old age, even after they can no longer reproduce.

�The male black cockatoo will dance to impress his mate by bopping his head like a hip-hop star and fluffing up his crest.

�He will also bring her food gifts, sing to her and preen her feathers to show his affection during the autumn breeding season.�

The Foundation runs a free program called Backyard Buddies. A factsheet about black cockatoos is at www.|backyardbuddies.net.au.