Animal biologist Christine Groom has become a ‘private investigator' as her research into Carnaby's cockatoos leads her to study their sleeping habits.
Ms Groom released five birds yesterday evening at Perry Lakes. She will ‘spy' on them via satellite tracking devices attached to their tail feathers to determine how often they sleep in the same trees, and the importance of the surrounding environment for foraging.
"The survival of the threatened species depends on their being able to get a safe night-time roost from which to find water and food and raise their young," Ms Groom said. Her study birds will be identifiable from their pink-painted tail feathers.
Ms Groom hopes members of the public will help her research by reporting sightings of the birds and providing information about where they go to roost, feed and drink.
Tracking last year showed other Carnaby's cockatoos flew as far as 200km from the release site. This year, the birds will be followed more intensively over a shorter period of time.
"The information we receive will help inform urban planning and development decisions and, we hope, help to conserve the endangered bird," she said.
The study birds are rehabilitated cockatoos from the Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre at Martin and Native Animal Rescue at Malaga.
The number of Carnaby's cockatoos has halved over the past 45 years with the wild population estimated at 40,000. Birds can live up to 50 years in the right circumstances.
Christine Groom (UWA School of Animal Biology) (+61 4) 09 087 631
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783