Updated: Aug 28
Hollow-bearing trees play a vital role in the survival of many species of native fauna in Australia. These trees provide shelter, nesting sites, and breeding habitats for a wide range of about 300 species of native animals such as birds, bats, arboreal marsupial such as possums and glides reptiles, and even frogs.
In particular, hollow-bearing trees are critical for the survival of many threatened and endangered species. These animals depend on the hollows in the trees to raise their young and seek shelter from predators and extreme weather conditions.
Hollow-bearing trees are trees that have naturally occurring hollows, which provide shelter and nesting sites for gliders and other animals. These trees are typically gum species such as Eucalyptus, Corymbia, Angophora and are old and mature, with thick bark and a large trunk diameter. Hollow-bearing trees take a long time to develop, with some species taking several hundred years to form hollows suitable for nesting. Hollows are dependent on the age of tree with older individuals producing more larger hollows.
Conservation of habitat is essential
Unfortunately, these trees are under threat from habitat loss and degradation, including clearing for agriculture and urban development, logging, and forest fires.
Conservation efforts are underway in Australia to protect and restore hollow-bearing trees and their habitats. This includes measures such as leaving dead and decaying trees standing, protecting trees from logging and clearing, and actively creating new hollows through techniques such as artificial hollow creation and nest box installation.
In summary, the conservation of hollow-bearing trees is crucial for the survival and well-being of many species of native fauna in Australia. It is important to protect and restore these trees and their habitats to maintain the diversity and resilience of Australia's unique and fragile ecosystems.
Installation pics of nest boxes made by Reclink construction group Nov 2022
RECLINK CONSTRUCTION AND CONSERVATION TRAINEES
The project was undertaken with the help of Friends of Lagoon creek group inc, Reclink Australia Participant pathway trainees and Acciona who funded the initial project and who were involved in the initial installation.
This Skilling Queenslanders for Work project is proudly funded and supported by the Queensland Government.
The project involved Construction trainees in the creation of multiple nest boxes for various fauna species. The lack of old established trees bearing hollows can impact a variety of native animal species from breeding and sheltering, restricting populations to certain areas.
Our goal was to create more nesting locations throughout Lagoon creek environmental reserve and monitor the boxes to see which resident species use the boxes. In the natural environment trees such as Gums usually develop hollows after 100 years with age. Nest boxes are not a complete solution as we just need to protect more fauna habitat but they are a suitable shot term solution in conjunction with natural area restoration projects and the long wait associated with the establishment of planting hollow-bearing species.
The nest boxes must be monitored to see if the boxes are used appropriately, pest species can make homes in the boxes and any abandoned boxes need to be relocated to areas where they can be used.
One of the most important aspects of implementing Nest boxes is making sure you have the right nest box for the right species and the boxes need to be positioned in areas that provide adequate shelter and protection from predators, while also being accessible to the animals that will be using them. It is also important to ensure that the boxes are not in areas that are prone to flooding or fire.
Moreton Bay Regional Council Environmental officer showing Reclink construction trainee how to hold and install the Rosella nest box.
Monitoring Nest Boxes
Nest boxes are an important tool for conservationists looking to protect Australian fauna. Monitoring these nest boxes throughout the year is crucial to ensure that they are being used appropriately and to track any seasonal changes and environmental conditions that might be having an effect on the behavior of the animals using them. Another key aspect of monitoring nest boxes is checking that they are being used. Some species, are known to be highly selective in their choice of nesting sites and may only use certain boxes at specific times of the year. Monitoring the boxes regularly can provide valuable insights into when and how the animals are using them. Unfortunately, nest boxes can also be vulnerable to takeover by pests such as the noisy miner and the European honey bee, both of which are common in Brisbane. Noisy miners are highly aggressive and will often take over nesting sites, driving out other species and making it difficult for them to breed successful. You can install a baffle on the front of boxes to deter them. European honey bees can also be problematic, as they can damage the boxes and compete with native species for resources. To address these issues, it is important to regularly check the nest boxes for signs of occupancy by unwanted species an effective tool for monitoring nest boxes is the use of a nest box camera or trail cameras placed on nearby trees. This can include looking for signs of damage to the boxes. These cameras can be placed inside the boxes and provide a real-time view of any animals using them. They can also be used to record data over time, providing valuable insights into the current populations of theses animals Finally, using GPS location for the boxes can be a useful tool for keeping track of them over time. This can help conservationists to identify areas where additional boxes may be needed or to relocate boxes that are not being used effectively. Overall, monitoring nest boxes is an important aspect of conservation efforts in Brisbane and throughout Australia. By keeping a close eye on these boxes and the animals using them, we can help to ensure the long-term survival of some of our most precious wildlife species
Glider species are a group of small, arboreal mammals that are found throughout Australia. They are named for their ability to glide through the air, which is achieved by extending a flap of skin, called a patagium, between their fore and hind limbs. There are several different species of gliders in Australia, each with its own unique characteristics and adaptations to the environment. In North Brisbane, the squirrel glider and sugar glider rely on a few specific tree species to provide them with suitable habitat. These include the Forest Red Gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis), Tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys), Grey Gum (Eucalyptus propinqua), and Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta). These trees are known to provide suitable hollows that are used by the gliding possums for resting, nesting, and raising their young. In addition, these trees also provide food for the gliders in the form of nectar and insects that are attracted to the flowers and bark of the trees. It's important to note that these tree species are also important habitat trees for many other native species in North Brisbane Glider species in Australia have a varied diet, depending on their specific species and the availability of food in their environment. Some gliders are strictly herbivores, feeding on nectar, pollen, and fruit. Others are omnivores, eating a combination of plant material and insects. Regardless of their specific dietary preferences, gliders require a diverse range of food sources to maintain their health and energy levels. In addition to their dependence on hollow-bearing trees and their varied diets, gliders in Australia also face a number of threats to their survival. Habitat loss and fragmentation, caused by logging, agriculture, and urbanization, are major factors contributing to the decline of glider populations. Invasive species, such as cats and foxes, also pose a threat to gliders, as they prey on them and compete with them for food and resources. Conservation efforts aimed at preserving and restoring hollow-bearing trees and other important habitat features are essential to the survival of glider species in Australia. Efforts to reduce habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as the removal of invasive species, can also help to protect glider populations. By understanding the unique adaptations and dependencies of gliders in Australia, we can work to ensure the long-term survival of these fascinating and important animals
Conservation trainees placing nest box material such as Gum leaves into a rosella box, this was done to simulate what would usually be found in a natural hollow. Most other species will bring their own nesting material.
The pale-headed rosella (Platycercus adscitus) is a medium-sized parrot found in the eastern and southeastern parts of Australia. As their name suggests, they have a pale blue head and a bright red patch on their chest. Their wings and tail are a vibrant blue, while their back and belly are a rich green. Pale-headed rosellas are often seen in pairs or small groups and can be found in a variety of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and farmlands. They feed on a variety of seeds, fruits, and insects, and they rely on hollow-bearing trees for nesting. During breeding season, which usually begins in late winter or early spring, male pale-headed rosellas will start searching for a suitable nesting site. They will inspect a number of potential sites, including hollows in trees, before selecting one for their mate. Once a nesting site has been selected, the male will court the female, displaying his colorful plumage and calling out to her to indicate his interest. After mating, the female will lay between 3-8 eggs inside the hollow. Both parents will take turns incubating the eggs and caring for the chicks after they hatch. The chicks will remain in the nest for several weeks, being fed by their parents until they are ready to fledge
They have also been known to use nesting boxes, which are designed to mimic the natural hollows found in trees. Nesting boxes should be placed at least 4 meters high, in a quiet location away from potential disturbances. In Brisbane, the pale-headed rosella is commonly found in a variety of habitats, including parks, gardens, and forested areas. Some of the tree species that they have been known to nest in include the spotted gum (Corymbia maculata), tallowwood (Eucalyptus microcorys), and blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis). Conservation efforts are underway to protect and restore habitat for the pale-headed rosella and other native Australian parrots. Providing suitable nesting sites, such as nesting boxes, can help to support these efforts and ensure the long-term survival of these beautiful birds.
The king parrot (Alisterus scapularis) is a large and striking parrot found in eastern Australia. Males have a bright red head and breast, with a green back and wings. Females have a similar green and red coloration, but with less vibrant colors overall. King parrots are often seen in pairs or small groups and can be found in a range of habitats, including forests, woodlands, and gardens. They feed on a variety of seeds, fruits, and nuts grass roots etc Breeding season, typically occurs from August to January females will lay between 2-6 eggs inside the hollow.
Construction trainees were involved in the implementation of the Nest boxes they created
ACCIONA NEST BOX CAMERA DONATION AND TEST VIDEO
Acciona kindly donated a wireless STARWEB nest box camera for us to monitor the boxes.
The camera has a thread we can attatch to a cleaning extension pole so we bought a 8m one to save us carrying a ladder!