Kaarakin Field Trip

KRMB Sunday, 2nd May 2021

The April field outing had to be moved to the 2nd of May due to the Anzac Day. The outing was to Kaarakin Black Cockatoo Rehabilitation Centre in Martin. We had booked a tour of the facility (it is the only way to see the facility, it is not open for general visitation) for 11 members. However, a total of 18 turned up. So we had to split into 2 groups.

Our tour guide informed us that the centre treated mainly Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos and Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos. Baudin’s Black Cockatoos are brought in less frequently as they are less common in the Swan Coastal Plain area. The cockatoos are first taken to the Perth Zoo where they undergo an inspection by veterinary staff. If they are found suitable to be rehabilitated and released, then they are sent to Kaarakin. It was explained that the aim was to rehabilitate and then release the birds back into the wild. Consequently, contact with humans is minimized.

Our tour took us past the various facilities at the centre with viewing of aviaries holding birds being rehabilitated from a suitable distance. The facilities include a 60 meters long flight pen where the birds are able to build up flight muscles prior to release. This was empty for our visit as there had been a release of Carnabys during the prior week. In addition to the aviaries, the centre also has a number of areas for other fauna – some left over from when it was the Cohuna wildlife park. There are two enclosures where dingoes are kept. They have both Pilbara and Alpine Dingoes, and we were able to get good views of them from a viewing platform. Another enclosure has Western Grey Kangaroos together with a single Red Kangaroo. An enclosure that was being re-vegetated had four emus, though they were not part of the exhibit and a gate is left open to encourage them to leave. A small aviary contained some smaller parrots, including a beautiful female Eclectus Parrot.

We then entered the interactive enclosure, which houses birds that are unsuitable for release because they have become too habituated to contact with humans. Here we were able to view feeding birds from a very close distance and even had them sit on our shoulders while accepting and chewing on the Marri nuts we had been supplied with on entry. It was amazing to see and hear the ease with which their bills chewed through the hard nuts to get at the seeds inside. The dexterity with which they rotated the nuts with their foot was also impressive.

This was a very cool experience and allowed for some nice close-up photos and videos. You can check the photos on Facebook HERE and the video HERE. When our tour was over, we then made it back to the office area where we were able to sit and enjoy our drinks and snacks before heading for home. It had been a very enjoyable visit to an impressive facility that is doing such great work.

Colin Prickett