WA’s south-west is home to four species of cockatoos.
The black ones with red feathers under their tales are red-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso) which inhabits the southern eucalypt forests. There are two different species that have white underside tails: Baudin’s cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii) or Carnaby’s cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris).
You can only tell the difference between the two with their beak: Baudin’s cockatoo has a long and narrow upper bill, while the upper bill of the endangered Carnaby’s cockatoo is shorter and stouter. Carnaby’s cockatoo can be found in the woodlands and scrubs of the semi-arid interior of WA and in the southern eucalypt forests also inhabited by Baudin’s cockatoo.
The 4th cockatoo species is quite distinct from the rest. It is the endangered Muir’s corella (Cacatua pastinator) and is a white cockatoo found in one isolated population near Lake Muir.
Each of these large birds is found only in Wa’s south-west and is threatened with extinction (It is strictly illegal to kill them, or you’ll get a fine of 10000$.
). This is hard to believe when a noisy flock of hundreds of birds is flying overhead!
There were loads of black cockatoos around the orchards. The Baudin’s one. They love eating apples, especially Pink Lady and Granny Smith. At the end of the day, as soon as all the cars would leave, the birds would swarm over the orchard and literally destroy rows of trees.
It is war against these birds in the orchards. It really does sound as if you are at war! Guns shooting and automatique canons everywhere to try and scare them away.
Our supervisor Ross was always on the lookout for cockatoos. Whenever he would hear a sound that sounded like a cockatoo he would start searching everywhere to see where they were. ‘Just listen to those bl**dy birds!’
One day we were leaving work and following Ross’s pickup truck. Suddenly he stopped, jumped out of his car, grabbed his gun and shot 3 times just above our van! We hardly had time to put our hands over our ears!