Beware The Black Cockatoos

Beware The Black Cockatoos

Western Australia Minister for Environment Bill Marmion

New Signs To Help Reduce Cockatoo Deaths

Victor P Taffa

  • New road signs to alert drivers about black cockatoos
  • At least 196 black cockatoos killed in past two years

Road signs are being installed across the State to alert motorists of black cockatoo hotspots and reduce unnecessary deaths of the endangered birds.

Announcing the new signs on National Threatened Species Day, Environment Minister Bill Marmion said black cockatoos were known to congregate on road verges to drink water and feed, but were often not quick enough to get out of the way of passing vehicles.

“Between July 2010 and June 2012, 345 injured black cockatoos were brought into Perth Zoo.” Mr. Marmion said.

“Most of these birds were hit by vehicles and 196 of them died. We know that many more black cockatoos are hit by vehicles and never reported, so the real number is likely to be significantly higher.”

The Minister said the signs would be installed at up to 40 locations across Western Australia, and Main Roads WA had already installed the first of these at Stephenson Avenue, Mount Claremont and Underwood Avenue, Floreat.

“Signs will soon be placed at Chester Pass Road in the Stirling Ranges where at least 45 black cockatoos died in 2009, as well as on the South Coast Highway and the Brand Highway near Cataby. The signs will alert people that black cockatoos are known to frequent the area and prompt them to slow down safely when they see the birds on the road to give them time to move.” Mr. Marmion said.

Injured black cockatoos are assessed and initially treated at Perth Zoo. Birds that survive are taken into care by specialist rehabilitators licensed by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) and released if possible. With the assistance of rehabilitators, DEC has released 40 black cockatoos in the past year.

Injured black cockatoos can be picked up with a towel, placed in a dark box and taken to a local vet to be passed on to Perth Zoo. Sick, injured or dead black cockatoos can be reported to the nearest DEC office or the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055. 

Fact File

  • Most deaths occur January to August
  • This is when Carnaby’s cockatoos return to Perth from Wheatbelt with their fledglings
  • Black cockatoos usually take off into wind, often putting them in path of vehicles