Research is currently under way that involves wing-tagging Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) within the Sydney region, Australia. Our aim is to learn about the Cockies' behaviour: site-loyalty, population size and foraging, roosting and breeding habitat preferences.
Wingtags allow all of us to identify and learn about individual birds. We encourage everyone who encounters a Cockie with wingtags to report their sighting - even if it's the same bird day after day, we are interested! This information helps us learn about individual bird's behaviour and that of the population.
This research commenced on 16th September 2011 when ‘Columbus’, Cockie 001, was tagged within the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. To our knowledge this study was the first time plastic cattle-ear tags had been fitted to a parrot. Cockatoos have powerful beaks so we had concerns that the tags wouldn’t last very long. However, our worries were unfounded; Columbus (001) is regularly resighted and the tags remain intact. This hasn’t been the case for all tagged Cockies; some have partially chewed tags, others have removed one tag and still others have removed both tags. Overall the wingtags method is working well and allows us to collect a lot of behavioural data and engage members of the community to report their sightings.
In addition to reporting your Wingtag sightings, Cockies' breeding behaviour is of particular interest. Please report the tree hollows you see cockies inspecting and/or using to nest to our partner research program Hollows as Homes. This program asks people to report the tree hollows and nest boxes they see across Australia - whether they are being used by wildlife or not please report this important habitat