Rescued black cockatoos released into John Forrest National Park

Volunteer Anna Barbarich and Black Cockatoo team leader Michael Jones . Picture: Bruce Hunt
Black Cockatoo team leader Michael Jones and volunteers. Picture: Bruce Hunt
Native Animal Rescue team leaders Michael Jones and Jaylin O'Sullivan with volunteers releasing the birds in John Forrest National Park. Pictures: Monica Iseppi
Native Animal Rescue team leaders Michael Jones and Jaylin O'Sullivan with volunteers releasing the birds in John Forrest National Park. Pictures: Monica Iseppi
Native Animal Rescue team leaders Michael Jones and Jaylin O'Sullivan with volunteers releasing the birds in John Forrest National Park. Pictures: Monica Iseppi
Volunteer Anna Barbarich and Black Cockatoo team leader Michael Jones . Picture: Bruce Hunt Black Cockatoo team leader Michael Jones and volunteers. Picture: Bruce Hunt Native Animal Rescue team leaders Michael Jones and Jaylin O'Sullivan with volunteers releasing the birds in John Forrest National Park. Pictures: Monica Iseppi Native Animal Rescue team leaders Michael Jones and Jaylin O'Sullivan with volunteers releasing the birds in John Forrest National Park. Pictures: Monica Iseppi Native Animal Rescue team leaders Michael Jones and Jaylin O'Sullivan with volunteers releasing the birds in John Forrest National Park. Pictures: Monica Iseppi

FOUR black cockatoos found freedom to stretch their wings again in John Forrest National Park this month.

Native Animal Rescue (NAR) released the forest red-tailed black cockatoos on June 18 after rehabilitating them at its Malaga wildlife rescue centre.

Black cockatoo team leader Jaylin O’Sullivan said they released two males and two females of the vulnerable species.

“No matter how many birds there are for release, everyone still gets excited to see them go back into the wild for that second chance,” she said.

“A group of four birds is the minimum number that we would release and with having the two males and two females we hope that they will stay together and hopefully pair up for breeding in the future.

“Some birds had to stay back as they weren’t ready due to only being at NAR for only a few months and others being too young coming in as young fledglings.”

Fellow team leader Michael Jones said the four birds had been found in Henley Brook, East Victoria Park, Balga and Roleystone with common injuries such as abrasions, bruising and fractures.

Mr Jones said, as with Carnaby’s black cockatoos, most of the birds that came to the centre suffered injuries from motor vehicle strikes.

“Out of these four birds the longest one to be rehabilitated was the male from Roleystone who came in to Native Animal Rescue back on August 22, 2014 when he came in as a young fledgling who needed to be hand fed using a hand rearing formula,” he said.

“A young fledgling can still be fed by the parents for up to six months after leaving the nesting hollow and at times we have to play the parents until a bird is weaned off the formula and eating natural foliage.”

Mr Jones said how long a bird stayed at the centre depended on its injury and age.

Miss O’Sullivan said the black cockatoo team had more than 20 volunteers, and that veterinary staff at Perth Zoo and wildlife officers from the Department of Parks and Wildlife were also involved in rehabilitation.

“Perth Zoo receives the birds for their initial treatment and examination including X-rays,” she said.

“They also microchip each bird that comes in and when they’re happy with a birds progress, the bird then comes to a rehabilitation centre like NAR for their recovery.

“Wildlife officers assist us with the releasing in helping to catch up the birds and assess them to see if they’re ready for release.

“They are also given a leg band with a unique number which goes on its right leg and a DNA sample taken from each bird.”

Mr Jones said the release site was chosen after he consulted Birdlife WA, which conducts the Great Cocky Count each year.

“Information from them showed the area we had our release had a consistent number red tail sightings over the last few years,” he said.

“Also speaking to park rangers and staff, there are always red tails flying around the area which we saw just after we released the birds.

“To release them into an area where there are other birds would allow them to join other flocks and can give them a greater chance of survival not just as companionship but for potential breeding to help get their numbers back up in the wild.”

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

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

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