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Words Wingtags Project
The Wingtags Project allows all of us to identify and learn about individual cockatoos. Everyone who encounters a Cockie with wing-tags is encouraged to report their sighting – even if it’s the same bird day after day!
Research is currently under way that involves wing-tagging Sulphur-crested Cockatoos (Cacatua galerita) within the Sydney region, Australia. The aim is to learn about the Cockies’ behaviour: site-loyalty, population size and foraging, roosting and breeding habitat preferences.
This research commenced on 16th September 2011 when ‘Columbus’, Cockie 001, was tagged within the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. It is likely that this study was the first time plastic cattle-ear tags had been fitted to a parrot. Cockatoos have powerful beaks so there were concerns that the tags wouldn’t last very long. However, those worries were unfounded; Columbus (001) is regularly re-sighted and the tags remain intact. This hasn’t been the case for all tagged Cockies; some have partially chewed tags, others have removed one tag and still others have removed both tags. Overall the wing-tags method is working well and collects a lot of behavioural data and engages members of the community to report their sightings.
Nearly 150 cockatoos are involved with Wingtags. Is there a Jack? You betcha! Jack is number 129. Meet Jack and all participating birds and track Jack in his travels throughout Australia. Report a sighting by email or either iphone or android apps using the information here.
Wingtags is collaborating with Eggpicnic to communicate its project and aspirations to the Australian people. Eggpicnic has kindly granted permission to include above the irresistible and celebratory ‘Where are the Cockies?’ video. Eggpicnic is a design studio set up by birdwatchers and designers, Camila De Gregorio and Christopher Macaluso, which fuses design and conservation to end wildlife extinction through education. Eggpicnic creates vibrant illustrations and fine art prints, depicting the stories of our critically endangered fauna, the environment and our relationship to it. Find out more and follow the good work of Eggpicnic here.