Research examines long term nesting box program

University research is looking into the success of a long-term Orange City Council strategy to provide nesting boxes and habitat for threatened native species at Gosling Creek.

Superb parrots in natural nesting hollow

NATURAL : Superb Parrots pictured in a natural nesting hollow.

Orange City Council Environment Sustainability Community Committee chair, Cr Stephen Nugent said the strategy has been under way for the last decade.

“Over the last ten years, there’s been a concerted effort to provide more opportunities for nesting as well as planting new trees in bushland around the Gosling Creek dam in south Orange”, Cr Stephen Nugent said.

Man cuts nesting hollow for parrots

NESTING : Atop a cherry picker, a chain saw is used by an aborist to cut an artificial hollow to be used as a nest.

“Some species of native birds such as Superb Parrots need very old trees which have hollows in them for nesting. In the broader environment, these older dead tree are the ones that are often cut down for firewood, so there’s a shortage of habitat and places to nest”.

A mixed strategy is being used at Gosling Creek which has also attached nesting boxes to some trees, built artificial hollows in other trees and looked to preserve natural hollows by bringing felled tree trunks to the site.

More than a hundred nesting options have been added around Gosling Creek.

“To build an artificial hollow, we’ve used a cherry picker to take a man with a chain saw up into the tree,” Cr Nugent said. “The chain saw is then used to take a panel off the front of a large branch. An artificial hollow cavity is then cut into the tree, before the panel is replaced with an access hole for the nesting birds.

“A university student has a long term research project under way to measure which kinds of parrots are preferring to use which kind of nesting options, and those results will help guide what happens in the future.

Male Superb Parrot on nesting box

PERCHED : A male Superb Parrot takes a close look at one of the nesting boxes in bushland at Gosling Creek.

“Another research project is about to begin which will be investigating the temperatures inside the different kinds of boxes and hollows. Some of the parrots are very choosy about laying their eggs in a hollow which could get too hot or cold. The research will tell us which kind of nest gives the best insulation.”

As well as Superb Parrots and Crimson Rosellas, there’s evidence species like marsupial gliders are also living in some of the artificial hollows in the Gosling Creek bushland.

Orange City Council is continuing to work with other agencies and volunteers to boost habitat for threatened species of parrots and other native animals. A number of initiatives have happened in cooperation with the Central West Councils Environment and Waterways Alliance (CWEWC) and Central Tablelands Local Land Services with funding from the NSW Government.

Find out more about the CWEWC nesting project in other areas. 

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