Building homes for endangered Wheatbelt critters

2 March 2016

Sheds across the Wheatbelt are rumbling to the sounds of woodwork and sweat as specialised nest boxes are being prepared for threatened species to shelter in.

There are 20 Men’s Sheds in the Wheatbelt – unique and inclusive places where blokes can work side by side on meaningful projects in a safe, friendly and welcoming environment.

Five of these sheds are now working with regional NRM group Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management, to build nest boxes of various shapes and sizes that appeal to a mixture of native bird and mammal species.

Men’s Sheds taking part in the project so far include Beverley, Kondinin, Wongan Hills, Wyalkatchem and Goomalling.

“The Men’s Sheds are invaluable to this project – bringing practical skills and local on-ground knowledge,” said Terri Jones, biodiversity project delivery officer with Wheatbelt NRM.

“They are helping build nest boxes, plus they are providing advice on which species are around, and where to place the boxes for easy-to-access monitoring by community."

Endangered species such as Carnaby's White-tailed Black Cockatoos and Red-tailed Phascogales will benefit from the boxes, along with several species of parrots, owls, pardalotes, microbats, and possums.

The biggest boxes are for the Carnaby’s at over one metre in length, while the smallest are for phascogales with an entrance hole less than four centimetres wide.

All boxes are being made from natural materials such as untreated wood and marine ply and will be installed in nature reserves by professional aborists, tree surgeons and local shires.

Ongoing monitoring will be done by local school students and community members who will help provide monthly observations over the next two years.

Monitoring will take place from ground level by listening for sounds in the boxes, watching for movement in and around the site, and using sensor cameras and Go Pro cameras.

“One of the greatest things about the project is the collaboration between the Men’s Sheds and local schools and the sharing of knowledge between the generations”, said Terri Jones.

To find out more about the project, contact Rowan Hegglun at Wheatbelt NRM on (08) 9670 3101 or via rhegglun@wheatbeltnrm.org.au

This project is made possible through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Programme.