Citizen scientists surveying Canberra's gang-gang cockatoos
Sunday, November 23, 2014 at 13:36
City Parrots in Callocephalon fimbriatum - Gang-gang Cockatoo, Count, Research

A young male Gang-gang Cockatoo perched on the stub of a broken off eucalypt branch. (Image by Leo 0ystercatcher)Hundreds of Canberrans are doing their part this week to map the distribution of the ACT's well known gang-gang cockatoos.

The Canberra Ornithologists Group is currently mapping the regional distribution of the cockatoos and the group is partway through a week-long muster to gather data from the community.

The group's Chris Davey said it was part of ongoing efforts to fill in knowledge gaps about their breeding and nesting habits.

"The survey is based on your garden or on your worksite and what you do is record the maximum number of gang-gangs you see each day within a hundred metres of that spot ... It's important for this survey to also, if possible, record nil observations," he said.

The surveys are simple to complete and can be done online or by mail.

Gang gang cockatoos male and female juveniles. Image by DebraMr Davey said there had been a good response and the resulting information could inform conservation plans such as protection of suburban nesting trees.

"So far we've got about 4,000 records, which have all got to be looked at," he said.

"We're busily confirming the locations of them at the moment, but in general there seems to be a restricted distribution around the urban areas."

The gang-gang is listed as vulnerable in NSW but is common in the ACT.

It is part of the logos of both Canberra Ornithologists Group and ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands.

Surveys from home gardens, local parks

As well as quarterly muster events like the one happening this week, the group has a separate year-long tracking project.

In spring the birds were most often recorded in suburbs adjoining forested habitats on Mt Majura, Mt Ainslie, Red Hill, Black Mountain and Mt Taylor.

Mr Davey said the quarterly gang-gang muster was a simple bird-watching activity that anyone could take part in.

"Choose somewhere you spend a little time most days of the week, like your home garden or the local park, and record the maximum number you see or hear each day. Even if you don't see any birds, these reports are really important for the survey," he said.

Information on the musters can be found at the Canberra Ornithologists Group website.

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