New homes for fire-affected birdlife
CAPRICORNIA conservationists are constructing nest boxes for Yeppoon bushfire-impacted birds after receiving a $10,500 grant from Landcare Australia.
Since fire tore through 11,000ha of bush in Cobraball, Bungundarra, Maryvale and Lake Mary in November, Capricornia birdwatchers have been considering what they can do to ensure the survival of endangered species in the region.
Birdlife Capricornia secretary Allan Briggs said as one of the recipients of funding from Landcare Australia’s $300,000 Bushfire Recovery Grant nationwide, Birdlife Capricornia identified a need to provide man-made nest boxes as alternative shelter for vulnerable birds and mammals whose timber nesting hollows were destroyed during the hot fires.
“These hollows can take over 100 years for a tree to form and all birds have very particular requirements when it comes to nesting and breeding in them, so man-made nest boxes have to be built with this in mind,” Mr Briggs said.
“We had originally hoped to engage the help of local men’s sheds to help with construction of a variety of sizes of nesting boxes but as social distancing regulations are still in place we opted to purchase 90 flatpack boxes that our birdlife volunteers will construct and then coat with linseed oil for use.
“We have identified already identified one 300-acre property where we will install the first 50 nesting boxes and are looking for another suitable property to erect the others.
“The boxes are in varied sizes and shapes to suit a range of birds as well as possums, gliders and microbats.”
Mr Briggs said the group would hire a cherry picker to erect the boxes and would monitor them with a camera on a pole to gauge how effective they were, and which species were using them.
“In the first nesting season around August and September we expect a percentage of use until the birds become accustomed to the boxes so subsequent nesting seasons should see a higher percentage of use.
“Expected outcomes include birds like kingfisher, pardalote, black cockatoos and small animals like sugar gliders, phascogale and micro bats moving back into the area, helping to rebuild the fire-affected food web.”
Birdlife Capricornia is collaborating with Capricorn Coast Landcare and local Wildlife Preservation Society members for the project.
The initiative was made possible due to the extraordinary volume of donations from generous organisations and private donors.
Landcare Australian Bushfire Recovery Grants will support 23 wide-ranging regeneration projects focusing on activities including impacted rainforest revegetation, nest boxes for decimated native species and feeding programs for endangered wildlife.
Key issues for all the grant recipients include restoring essential wildlife habitat, management of invasive weeds, erosion control and protection of our waterways and aquatic habitat.
The funding came from generous donations during the bushfires from across the country and around the world, including Landcare Australia partners Brambles CHEP, Bushman’s Tanks, Bloom Aid and Hawkes Brewing.
If property owners or urban residents are interested in constructing nesting boxes Mr Briggs said he had PDF plans for a variety of designs that he was happy to pass on by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.