The Cootamundra district is home to one of Australia's rarest parrots. Right now the exquisite and endangered Superb Parrot is looking for nesting trees for the coming season and local farmers are giving them a helping hand.
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Ashley and Caroline Hermes have a 2,300 acres mixed farming operation at Bethungra. They also protect the native tree cover on their property and carefully manage trees along waterways.
"Our approach to farm management protects the soil, reduces salinity, increases production and helps local wildlife," Ashley said.
Ashley and Caroline have teamed up with Ashley's wildlife biologist brother Neil to erect special nest boxes along streamlines on their property to try to help the Superb Parrots.
"Superb parrots are endangered birds and the loss of old hollow trees has badly affected the birds. Putting up nest boxes may be part of the answer to increasing the number of these beautiful birds," Neil Hermes said.
"One of our challenges was to get the nest boxes high enough into the trees," Ashley said.
"We appreciated the assistance of Trevor Collins and staff at Elouera Hire in Cootamundra, with the use of their cherry-picker.
"With the help of this machine we could get the boxes up to 8 metres into the trees," Ashley said.
Neil said: "Superb Parrots are pretty fussy about the hollows they like to nest in".
"Pairs may nest in the same hollow for many years. If their nest tree is cut down a pair may find it hard to locate a suitable new tree hollow.
"Nest boxes have been tried in other parts of the Southwest slopes where the birds occur but, to date, Superb Parrots have not taken to them".
Neil and his brother are hoping that their specially designed nest boxes might encourage the birds to adopt the new homes.
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