Western Australian Naturalists Club

Encouraging the study and protection of the natural environment

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DRB Presents – Mandy Ridley speaking on the Magpie Research Project

9 December, 7:00 pm-9:30 pm

DRB Presents – Mandy Ridley speaking on the Magpie Research Project

Note: no RSVP required.

COVID19: Even though restrictions have eased, we will still be taking some precautions to protect members who attend:

  • Please do not attend if unwell
  • Wearing of masks is optional. 
  • Hand sanitiser will be available and should be used when entering.
  • Maintain social distancing
  • Cash handling will be minimised. Correct change sought at meetingsMember’s tables/ library / raffle all to have separate PPE and members to be encouraged to use.
  • Members and guest door prizes to revert to a numbering system used earlier in 2020
  • Proof of vacination not required. 



Associate Professor Amanda Ridley, Principal Investigator, Pied Babbler Research Project & Western Magpie Research Project

University affiliations: University of Western Australia & the Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town

Brief biography
1999-2003 PhD (Arabian Babblers), Cambridge University (Supervisor: Prof T.H. Clutton-Brock)
2003-2004 Postdoctoral research fellow, Newnham College, Cambridge University
2005-2009 Postdoctoral research fellow, Percy FitzPatrick Institute, University of Cape Town
2009-2012 Lecturer & MQRF, Macquarie University
2012-2016 ARC Future Fellow, University of Western Australia
2016-present Associate Professor, University of Western Australia

I have been collecting data on the causes and consequences of cooperative behaviour in pied babblers since 2003. My current primary interests are: the causes of variation in contributions to cooperative care, the short- and long-term consequences of helping behaviour (to both the helper and the individual being helped), and how to measure the cost of help. Additionally, I am interested in sexual selection and how that operates in a cooperative species where sexual monogamy prevails and breeding spaces are extremely limited. Specifically, I aim to determine the importance of mate versus rival assessment, and how mate quality affects dispersal and eviction patterns in cooperative species.

An additional aspect of my research involves understanding interspecific interactions and communication. Originally I started investigating these interactions between pied babblers and fork-tailed drongos. More recently, I have begun investigating interspecific interactions in scimitar-bills, yellow-billed hornbills and wattled starlings. The recent arrival of brood parasitism in our study population has caused me to be intensely interested in the relationship between a brood parasite and its cooperative host, and this research is planned for the next few years.

With the help of a new research grant, I am beginning research on understanding long-term population dynamics in cooperative species, including factors that promote the expansion or extinction of groups. I will be using the long-term datasets of Arabian and pied babblers to determine the influence of climatic changes (heatwaves and droughts) on social dynamics at both the group and population level





  • Kids’ talk – one of your younger members will be giving a 5 minutes kids’ talk. Andrew Wallace will be giving a talk about “Insects”.
  • Boffins talk – A member will give an 8 minutes Boffins’ talk. Rachel Green will be giving a talk about:”10 tips on creating a habitat garden in a small space which both people and wildlife like to visit.”
  • Nature road show”. Members and visitors are encouraged to bring items to place on the display table or to send photographs to the MC in advance, e.g. a sample flower, an insect, and so on – anything of natural history interest that has legally been obtained. If we have time, one of our experts will identify them or briefly talk about them, or the person bringing them can talk about where they saw it, etc. Photographs are particularly welcome, as everyone can see them. If you wish to show a photograph please email it, no later than the day before, to our MC for this night, and she/he will include it on her PowerPoint slides. We have a dedicated email for this purpose” DRBChair@wanaturalists.org.au
  • Thing of the month / Things coming up next month: These two presentations are about things in nature happening this month and things coming up, so if you have any photos or information, send them to: DRBChair@wanaturalists.org.au
  • Door prizes: You could also be the lucky winner of a door prize. We make sure there are prizes for both members and visitors.
  • Raffle: We will have a great raffle  – please raid your piggy bank for a bit more cash, $5 for 3 tickets.

Time: Please come at 7.15pm or earlier if you wish, for a 7.30pm start as we start promptly. We are open from 6.45pm. We finish formal proceedings no later than 9.30pm.

Donation: All this for only a donation of $3 per person for adult members ($0 for child members), and $5 per adult visitor and $1 per visiting child to help with the costs of running the club, venue hire, insurance and so on.  Please bring the right CASH to help us avoid long queues. Thanks. We do not have EFTPOS facilities yet.

Entrance: It is a condition of entry that everyone signs in on arrival, thank you.

Parking: Free parking right outside.

Wheelchair access: Everything is on one level.

Toilets: Are inside.

Bookings: No bookings required.

See you there for fabulous night.


9 December
7:00 pm-9:30 pm
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Bradley Cox


Kalamunda Community Centre
Kalamunda Community Centre, end of Crescent Rd, Off Mundaring Weir Road,
Kalamunda, WA 6076 Australia
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