Will their call become a distant memory?

Who has seen a red flash flying overhead, accompanied by a sound like a rusty gate hinge or, as someone else commented, Dracula opening the lid of his coffin? Who has heard a soft growling noise coming from a Eucalyptus or Acacia tree whilst bits of foliage fall to the ground?

Gang-gang cockatoo photo: Andrew Silcocks
Gang-gang Cockatoo
Callocephalon fimbriatum

photo: Andrew Silcocks

Most likely you have had the privilege of seeing and hearing the Gang-gang Cockatoo. Some knowledge gleaned from my research shows that they almost all hold their tasty morsel of food in their left foot and as a molly-duke, I was quite impressed.

Previously coming from Western Australia I had never seen this species of Cockatoo and was immediately captured by its unique appearance and somewhat cheeky grin but sadly in March this year I learned that this charismatic and mysterious Cockatoo is yet another bird listed as endangered in Australia. Why am I not surprised?

Their numbers have been in dramatic decline over recent decades and was further compounded by the 2019-2020 bushfires. It is estimated they incurred another 30% of habitat loss which resulted in further population displacement, loss of nesting hollows and valuable food resources for the ones who managed to survive the inferno.

So, when it became evident that there was an urgency to acquire more knowledge and monitoring about the Gang-gangs lives, Birdlife Australia put out a call for help in the communities of the ACT, Eurobodalla, Blue Mountains and East Gippsland to become part of the Gang-gang citizen science recovery project, a self-guided free on-line course. Instantly many concerned folk raised their hand. These past few weeks have been a great learning experience and a way of sharing and connecting with other participants of how we can all contribute in some way to help in the Gang-gangs recovery.

If you are interested in contributing to the second round of this crucial citizen science project, please contact alexandra.johnson@birdlife.org.au

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