This fabulous nest-box is one of 30 that were recently constructed by a fantastic bunch of school students from the Christmas Island District High School, under the supervision of their teachers Brad and James, a project initiated by Range to Reef Environmental and supported by Christmas Island Phosphate. These artificial tree-hollows were made for a unique, endemic and Vulnerable species of nocturnal bird of prey, the Christmas Island Hawk Owl (Ninox natalis). Range to Reef engaged me to become involved in the work, and after having closely related Southern Boobook Owls successfully use nest-boxes I installed in Perth and the WA Wheatbelt region early last year, I recommended that Range to Reef supply the same design to the school. I very privileged to be asked to assist with installation and have just returned from the island (which is one of the most amazing, unique places I've ever been!) where I worked with Range to Reef to find an arboreal home for all 30 boxes. I'll write more on this soon, but for now, here are a few snaps from the trip!
|Boxes were installed using the tree-friendly 'Re-Cyc-Ology method with wire and hose-pipe.|
|Spot the Hawk-Owl nest-box! This one was hung about 20 m up in a beautiful Sysigium tree.|
|The awesome team from Range to Reef: Roget, Sophie and Andrew!|
Despite spending over a week 'hanging out' in the rainforest, most of work was conducted during the day when Hawk Owls are roosting, and I was a little sad to climb on the plane and leave the island without having seen one! However, I know that one day I'll be back - hopefully to find owls nesting inside one of their new homes! In the meantime, I know the island's beautiful Frigatebirds will be soaring above the rainforest and keeping an eye out.