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FEATURE


Walk slowly toward the tree and identify the nest entrance. You must walk very quietly or he or she will leave the nest and not return until you have gone. The best way to study a nest is to build a hide just away from the tree and wait and watch. At no time should you disturb the nesting procedure.


If Major Mitchell’s lose their nesting tree because of fire or land clearings do they leave that area? No they don’t. Usually they try and select a new nest site in the same area. It may not be the same type of tree, so if a nest is lost look for the new site and it should be found within a half kilometre.


How long do the young stay in the nest? Around seven weeks.When the parents want the fledged babies to leave the nest they will encourage their young to climb up to the nest entrance and feed them there. This is an extremely bad time for predators to attack the young and the parent birds become very aware of that.


Are Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos reliable breeders? Most certainly. Almost all Major Mitchells return to the same tree every year. Usually around mid August.


What is the average clutch size of nesting Major Mitchells? Average: 2.5 some raise 2, most raise 3 and 4 is not unusual. How far do Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos fly from their nesting site in the off season? Up to 300 kilometres.


How long do the baby birds stay with the parents after leaving the nest? Approximately six weeks then they join into a small flock situation.


How long before young birds can breed themselves? Three years.


If Major Mitchells are such a good and reliable breeder in the wild, why then isn’t the overall population increasing? Good question. • First and foremost it is predators. • Secondly it is bad fire management. • Thirdly it is land clearing. • Fourthly it is competition from other tree hollow nesting species that take over nests of Major Mitchells.


The best way to study a nest is to build a hide just away from the tree and wait and watch. At no time should you disturb the nesting procedure.


BIRD SCENE 31


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