Superb habitat… a place to call home

Image of a bush landscape on fire

With these new arrivals, ancient trees soon felt the sharp blow of an axe as pasture was prepared for ravenous stock. With the passage of time these sheep paddocks soon made way for our suburbs. Residential development had arrived. Our ecological footprint was firmly stamped upon the once open grassy woodlands.

But tucked away in isolated spots, pockets of imposing old trees still stand today somewhat sheltered from suburbia. The trees have hollows where once a branch grew. These magnificent hollows offer refuge from the elements, shelter from predators, a place to call home.

Circling through the canopy, birds seek lodgings to raise their offspring, amongst them a superb parrot by name and by nature searches. Competition is strong for a suitable nesting spot. Deep dark hollows provide a safe place for this iconic threatened woodland bird to reproduce.

Without these magnificent hollows, extinction may loom on the horizon for superb parrots. As citizen scientists you can play a role into research to glean insights into their lifecycle.

The ACT Government placed over 32 cameras at the entrances of tree hollows and captured over one million wildlife images ranging from meandering possums to inquisitive galahs. We’ve now teamed up with the Australian Museum DigiVol project to sort through these digital images but need more help.

We’re asking Canberrans to sign up to DigiVol to help. It’s a delightfully easy process, guided by online steps. There’s been keen interest over the last few weeks, but with tens of thousands of images being loaded a week, more help is needed.

This collaboration with our community will answer many probing questions. Exactly how much competition is the superb parrot facing? Are they losing their precious hollows to competitor birds? Can they hang onto their spot once occupied? This citizen research will also explore if competition is leading to superb parrots nesting in less than desirable hollows in the vain hope of breeding success.

Time is of the essence with only a few thousand birds remaining. ANU research predicts that with the implications of climate change Canberra may present climatic conditions similar to the superb parrot’s key breeding areas around Young and Forbes of today, suggesting that the bush capital may become pivotal for the species’ long-term survival.

To play your part, access the DigiVol site at https://volunteer.ala.org.au/project/index/22993321

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful Platypus.