Calling all cocky counters

Photo Rachel Farran

The 2015 annual count for the endangered South-eastern Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo is fast approaching, with the count to be held on Saturday 2 May.

The Recovery Team and BirdLife Australia and again looking for volunteers to assist in the search for Red-tails across more than sixty sites throughout the cockatoo’s range in the South East of South Australia and South West Victoria.

Sites are scattered from Nelson to Little Desert National Park in Victoria to Mount Gambier to Keith in South Australia. Volunteers will be allocated a site in stringybark habitat, which they will search via vehicle using one of two methods (scientific or drive in the park). Those lucky enough to find Red-tails will record the time, location and number seen on the map supplied.

Landholders who have remnant stringybark are also encouraged to search their own property on the day. Upon registration, you can request to search a particular area or nominate to search your own property.

Red-tails often use watering points such as cattle troughs and stringybark habitat that is inaccessible to our counters. As such, we encourage all landholders or anyone who notices birds on the day to phone in their sighting(s) to freecall 1800 262 026.

Volunteers need no prior experience with surveying for birds, but are required to become familiar with what Red-tails look and sound like, as they can often be mistaken for the more common Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo.  To hear the difference between a Red-tail and Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo please click here.  

In addition, the Recovery Team will again be running an annual count training session in Casterton on the morning of the count for those who haven’t participated or would like some pointers when searching for Red-tails. We would appreciate if you could register your interest in attending upon registration.

Volunteers are also welcome to attend the annual Bailey’s Rock Campout to close out a big day’s counting. This is an informal campout for volunteers to share stories of the day’s adventure with others involved in the day.

To register your interest in participating please contact Bronwyn Perryman on 1800 262 062 or via email

You can also refer to our annual count information sheet for more information about what’s involved on the day.

Registrations are taken up to two weeks prior to the count; however we highly recommend registering well before to secure your preferred search area. A package of survey instructions and map will be sent out to registered volunteers in the fortnight leading up to the count.

The success of the count relies heavily on sighting information that we receive in the months leading up to the count. If you see Red-tails from now onwards please report all sightings to Freecall 1800 262 062 or via our website by clicking here.

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