Saturday, September 12, 2015

Monitoring the Nest-boxes

Nick and Mark have gone out and down their first time monitoring most of the thirty or so nest-
boxes they installed a couple of months ago. What surprised us all is the amazing strike rate, or occupancy, after being told by numerous experts that boxes often hang in the trees unoccupied for years. Six of the boxes were used by gliders as far as we can tell.

Antechinus Box
This first box though it is shaped to allow antechinus (a nocturnal carnivorous rat-shaped marsupial) to nest, and opens at the back so that the little animals can climb in from the tree trunk. Gliders prefer the same mode of entry and it was probably 'furnished' by a family of gliders (gliding possums) which use a number of hollows called dreys every night a different one through their range. 

The whole family helps bring in fresh leaves and then cuddle up together for the day. However in the above box, the leaves have been collected but don't look as if they've been used. Maybe they didn't smell right, they don't look like the kind they seem to like.

Glider Box
This one is a glider specific box, also opening at the back between the box and the tree trunk, to make it more difficult for predators to find. Snakes, goannas, crows are all dangerous nest stealers. This one has been 'furnished' with the eucalyptus leaves, and these look as though they have been used.

Small Parrot Box

This small parrot box has a family of gliders in residence. Little grey bodies, long brown tails, good to steer with while they glide from tree to tree. They sleep in the daytime, are active at night. 

Most small parrots ... we're talking lorikeets, cockatiels and the like ... prefer a deep box with a 'ladder' for the young to scrabble up to the entry hole on the front for access by flight.