Biloela Wild Cockatoos

Biloela Wild Cockatoos series by Leila Jeffreys. Gang-Gang Cockatoos live in small flocks in the south east of Australia. They set up supervised crèches for their young so parents can take turns feeding away from the nest site. Juvenile male Red-tailed Black Cockatoos resemble females until puberty, which occurs at around four years of age, but have paler yellow barred underparts. As the birds reach maturity, males gradually replace their yellow tail feathers with red ones.

'Kirra' Carnaby's Black Cockatoo

'Kirra' Carnaby's Black Cockatoo

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'Kirra' Carnaby's Black Cockatoo ©Leila Jeffreys 2012
Photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper

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was very excited to meet Kirra the Carnaby Cockatoo.

I grew up in Perth in the state of Western Australia and often saw these Cockatoos, as they are endemic to the south west of Western Australia. If you were going to barrack for the underdog these beautiful birds are it. Their population has decreased by over 50% over the last 45 years and they are high on the endangered species list.

The problem is that the birds are fussy and humans keep knocking their tree-houses down. They only nest in mature eucalypts such as salmon gum and wandoo that need 100 years to form hollows suitable for nesting. With land clearing for farming, removal of nest hollows for use as firewood or just to make properties look ‘tidy’, the birds’ homes have been either wiped out or fragmented.

There is a wonderful documentary about the Carnaby’s called ‘On A Wing and a Prayer’ shown on the ABC which described the birds like this – “Playful, mischievous and highly intelligent, Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos are adored by thousands, hunted by many and saved by few. Hope for their future is in the hands of the local community and one man in particular, Senior Wildlife Investigator Rick Dawson”. Thank you, Rick.

The more people know about these beautiful birds the better chance they have for survival and the cheeky Kirra is a wonderful ambassador for her species.

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