Great Cocky Count to look at how Carnaby’s cockatoos cope with tree loss


Leah Knapp from Murdoch University, Jo Garvey from the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Shenton park Birdlife Australia’s Adam Peck, Francis Smit from Serpentine-Jarrahdale Landcare, “Cockatoo Bill” and Mundaring ornithologist Simon Cherriman are ready for the Great Cocky Count.
Leah Knapp from Murdoch University, Jo Garvey from the Peel-Harvey Catchment Council, Shenton park Birdlife Australia’s Adam Peck, Francis Smit from Serpentine-Jarrahdale Landcare, “Cockatoo Bill” and Mundaring ornithologist Simon Cherriman are ready for the Great Cocky Count.

“At the current rate, Perth’s population of Carnaby’s will be on the brink of extinction in 10 years,” BirdLife Australia head of conservation Samantha Vine said.

The birds’ roosting and feeding areas include Shenton Park, Melville, Hamilton Hill, the Perth hills, Peel Region and Wanneroo sites.

Environmentalists were angered when a draft of the State Government’s Green Growth Plan that allegedly proposes to accelerate metropolitan bush clearing from about 1000ha to more than 1400ha annually, was recently leaked.

Ms Vine said habitat clearing outside Perth caused Carnaby’s to feed on city pines, including about 4000 or about 10 per cent of the species’ population at the Gnangara pine plantation in Wanneroo.

However, Government estimates show the plantation shrinking from 23,000ha to 8500ha by 2017 and gone by 2020 to remove the reportedly water-thirsty pines to recharge the underground Gnangara Mound aquifer stressed by climate change.

Ms Vine said felling the plantation would be a fatal blow to the Carnaby’s population.

“But the issue with the water mound really is human over-extraction for commercial growers, rather than the pines using water,” Urban Bushland Council president Mary Gray said.

Department of Water executive director of regional delivery and regulation Paul Brown said private water extraction from the Gnangara Mound had fallen by about 3.5 gigalitres annually since 2012-13, a plan expected next year would manage its use in a drying climate, and work would continue to improve growers’ efficient use of water.

“As an example, in 2013-14 we revised allocation limits in the north-west urban growth corridor for public open space, and we worked with Water Corporation, the City of Wanneroo and developers to apportion available water and improve water efficiency and public open space design,” Mr Brown said.

n Register before March 20 for the sunset, April 3 Great Cockatoo Count at www. birdlife.org.au.