Welcome to the News section of the iNSiGHT Ornithology website (
www.simoncherriman.com). This blog contains updates about various things I've been up to, interesting environmental issues and observations I make regularly while going about my day. It is designed to be fun AND educational, and inspire you about our wonderful natural world. Happy reading!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Nest Boxes: a day in the trees


Who’d have thought that this little girl would be wearing a jumper with a picture of me on it!!?? I laughed when I saw the ‘crazy monkey’ hanging upside down as I thought about the number of times I’ve been described this way by people who’ve watched me climb trees.

I had great fun installing a nest box for a pair of Red-capped Parrots which have been frequenting the garden of my friends Cherie and Ryan. Cherie has been brilliant at planting a native garden, and wanted to encourage birds onto her block even more, so I installed this parrot box today. I couldn’t have done it without little Hayley’s help!


Earlier today I put another nest box up; its size was at the other end of the scale to the smaller one pictured above! This box was designed for Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, and went high into a large marri tree at a block in Sawyers Valley. Brad and his son Thomas are fanatical about Black Cockatoos, and regularly have all three species in their garden, so they ordered their box a few weeks ago.

Brad, Sallyanne and Thomas live on a fabulous bush block and are lucky to have a huge range of local native animals visit them regularly. This is because, like many private blocks in the Perth Hills, they have retained the native vegetation of Jarrah and Marri trees which local wildlife needs. However, one thing that is missing from their place are HABITAT TREES. These are large trees more than 100 years old which bear hollows, vital for a HUGE variety of invertebrates, plus most parrot species, owls, possums, bats and some reptiles to live in. Without habitat trees the biodiversity values of bushland decrease severely. If you look at the picture below, you can see that all trees pictured are only 20-30 years old at most.


In order to increase the potential for more species to breed in bush with younger trees, you can easily fix the ‘habitat problem’ by installing nest boxes to restore the animals’ homes! Here are Brad and Thomas pictured with their ready-to-install cockatoo box.


After a lot of ‘monkeying around’ in the chosen tree, which involved setting up a few ropes and pulleys, the box was ready to be hauled into position. I set up a one-way hauling system so large nest boxes can go up but not slip back down again! Thomas jumped in to lend a hand and his dad took some photos of the action:



I secured the box in place with a length of chain and some old hosepipe (to protect the tree!) and installation was complete! Only 15 minutes later we heard a few Red-tails calling from trees just metres away from the box! Let’s hope they find it soon, and with any luck they’ll be rearing young inside. Let’s finish with a ‘Cockatoo’s-eye view’ from the new nest tree, with Brad and Thomas waving from below.

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