Autumn is almost here and it is time for planning and planting Australian native gardens. Please always remember to include plants that feed our Carnaby's Cockatoos.
Cockatoos need food and as we develop land for housing with little or no space for trees and gardens, we are taking destroying their food source. We need to be planting a large variety of Western Australian trees and shrubs so that these beautiful birds can have a quality diet.
Over the last 6 weeks a large flock of about 60 Carnaby's Cockatoos have been roosting and feeding here in Oakford. Sadly, they come for the seeds in the Pinus pinaster pine cones. This is not the ideal food for these birds. It is considered to be the equivalent of us humans continually eating "take-away" hamburgers. Pinus pinaster trees are native to California.
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris) are unique to Western Australia. They have two common Noongar names, 'Ngooriark' and 'Weelark'.
If we are going to feed our Carnaby's Cockatoos we need to be planting many different Western Australian native species particularly Marri trees, Jarrah trees, Banksias, Hakeas and Callistemon phoeniceus (Firey Red Bottlebrush).
We have many plants for sale in our nursery that will provide food for the Carnaby's Cockatoos. We recommend that you plant trees and shrubs that have been grown in 70mm square tubes (forestry tubes). Australian native plants that are grown in square tubes do not become root bound. The retail price is $5.00 ea.
Carnaby's Cockatoos removing pine cones from Pine trees and dropping them to the ground. It is important that we feed our Carnaby's Cockatoos with more appropriate species than Californian Pine Trees.
Carnaby's Cockatoos extracting seeds from Pinus pinaster cones after they have dried on the ground.
The destroyed pine cone and the seed capsules left after feeding by a Carnaby's Cockatoo.
The Carnaby's Cockatoos break the mature pine cones from the trees and drop them on to the ground. They return later, approximately two weeks, when the cones have dried out and are easier to break up, they then remove the capsules that surround the seed. They break the capsules open into two perfect little cups, as you can see in the photo above, then remove the seed and eat it. The capsules are just 8mm long. It is amazing that these large birds with big sharp beaks can break these small capsules open perfectly in half just by using their beaks and possibly their claws. I tried to do the same using pliers, tweezers, small hammer etc., I did not even manage to do one!
Sentinal duties among Cockatoos.
After the Carnaby's Cockatoos had finished feeding on the pine trees, some of them started to feed on Banksia attenuata. The short video (just above) shows a Carnaby's Cockatoo on 'sentinal duty' on the top of the Banksia attenuata by our retail nursery. The cockatoo is making sure that the photographer did not get too close, while the cockatoos safely feed below, partially hidden in the tree foliage.