Tracking devices fitted to Carnaby’s black cockatoos


Everything is being done to save the Carnaby’s black cockatoo.
Everything is being done to save the Carnaby’s black cockatoo.

ENDANGERED Carnaby’s black cockatoos are being fitted with tracking devices in a bid to halt their decline.

Murdoch University researchers will use technology developed in the Netherlands to monitor Carnaby’s and forest red-tailed black cockatoos over the next five years as part of the Black Cockatoo Ecology Project.

Wild cockatoos that have undergone rehabilitation at Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Conservation Centre and Native Animal Rescue will have unique leg bands, satellite transmitters and solar-powered GPS trackers attached before being released. The combined tracking method is a world first for a parrot species.

Dr Jill Shephard, from the university’s school of veterinary and life sciences, said it would enable them to attain a three-dimensional reading of the bird’s activity at any time.

“We know exactly where they are and what they are doing from the tracking data and our research team spends a lot of time in the field following the flocks and visually observing the birds,” she said.

“Across the life of the project we will generate huge amounts of data, with more than 36,000 location fixes and nearly 8000km of movement already recorded.”

Associate Professor Kris Warren said researchers knew from previous releases that the cockatoos would join wild flocks.

“By following the wild flocks, we’re able to better understand the ecology of the species,” she said.

“By tracking black cockatoos from as far north as Jurien right down to Esperance, we will be able to identify critical feeding and breeding habitat and how the birds move within those landscapes.”