Introducing CockyWatch, WA

Introducing CockyWatch, WA

“CockyWatch” is a new citizen science initiative that aims to help us find out more about the Black-Cockatoos that call Australia’s Southwest home.

While WA’s iconic and much-loved Black-Cockatoos (Carnaby’s, Baudin’s and Red-tailed) are threatened at state and national levels, there are currently no robust or scientifically-defensible estimates of population size for any of our Southwest Black-Cockatoo species. This is a problem which has plagued cockatoo researchers for decades!

It is difficult to work out how many of these beautiful birds there are because they range over such a large area, from north of Kalbarri to east of Esperance. However, we need better estimates of how many Black-Cockatoos there are in order to know how best to help them.

We’re asking people to walk, cycle or drive 2km transects (or more), and note down details of any Black-Cockatoos seen. If you regularly drive along a particular route, or take your dog for a long walk, these would be ideal times for a CockyWatch survey.

Ideally people will repeat their surveys throughout the year, possibly monthly, so that we can get an idea of where cockies are spending their time throughout the year.

For CockyWatch surveys, following the method and recording the distance you’ve travelled while searching for Black-Cockatoos is just as important as the cockatoo sightings themselves.  To participate in CockyWatch download the instructions and data sheet here.

If you have some incidental sightings of Black-Cockatoos (or other bird species) that you’ve seen by chance and you want to record them, the best way to do this is to log the sightings in BirdLife’s web portal and app Birdata (Find out more here).

The information gathered through CockyWatch will help to find how the abundance of Black-Cockatoos changes across different habitats, different regions and from year to year. In the long term, we hope to get enough information to estimate minimum population sizes for all three species of Black-Cockatoo across the Southwest.

CockyWatch is being run by BirdLife Australia and has been developed in partnership with the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. It is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program supported by Royalties for Regions. 

Photo: Keith Lightbody

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