That hollow feeling
In Australia we have at approximately 114 species of birds, 83 species of mammals and at least 106 reptiles and amphibians that are dependent on tree hollows to make shelter, roost or nest.
To have such a wide variety of animals that rely on hollows is in itself remarkable. This phenomenon is made even more remarkable by the fact that we do not have the primary excavators such as Woodpeckers to create hollows and natural hollows can take up to 150 -- 200 years to form.
During the spring Wildflower Festival 15 -- 29 August, Sunshine Coast company Hollow Log Homes will run a nocturnal creatures and critters walk in Coolum. Join the walk to discover the habits of these normally unseen residents using the video surveillance cameras in nest boxes.
When: 27 and 28 August, 6 pm -- 7 pm
What: Sugar Gliders, possums and bandicoots are just some of the shy creatures that venture out to feed after dark.
Bookings: Sunshine Coast Council 5420 8200 -- Bookings essential
Hollow Log Homes work closely with Sunshine Coast Council and also arrange workshops for schools and community groups on a wide range of environmental issues including building nest boxes.
Article courtesy of Hollow Log Homes, Cambroon
Dead Trees! Why are they so Important?
In Australia we have at approximately 114 species of birds, 83 species of mammals and at least 106 reptiles and amphibians that either den, roost or nest in tree hollows. Gibbons & Lindenmayer 2002.
This phenomenon is made even more remarkable by the fact that we do not have the primary excavators such as Woodpeckers like other continents.
To have such a wide variety of animals that rely on hollows is in itself remarkable. These figures are made all the more remarkable when you consider that Africa has only 7% of its fauna dependent on hollows and North America has 4%. Compare this with the huge 21% of all the land animals in this country being obligate hollow users and you can begin to understand just how important our old hollow trees really are.
If an animal is an obligate hollow user it means without hollows in which to shelter or nest they will just die. We will lose them completely, forever.
It takes somewhere between 150-200 years for many of our native trees to develop suitable hollows. Smith, Lees, Ross, 1998. In the past our forests were full of dead and dying trees along side all the new healthy trees we had trees with limbs broken and decaying, our animals learnt to utilize these trees as shelter, protection from predators and the elements. Unfortunately this type of tree is unsafe around our modern life. Hollow trees or limbs have to be removed from parks and gardens because of public safety, much of our forest is too young to produce these hollows. But all is not lost.
Many of the species that use tree hollows will readily adapt to artificial hollows. Research shows that many species will return to areas if suitable hollows are provided even after years of absents. It is well documented that our birds live for and extraordinary length of time, up to 80 years in the case of the larger Cockatoos. By providing them with suitable nest sites we are ensuring that they will continue to breed.
Alan and Stacey Franks have been researching artificial nest boxes over the past few years and have come to the realization that if you build suitable nest boxes and place them appropriately they will be used by every thing from velvet geckos to gliders and Black Cockatoos. Hollow Log Homes wildlife boxes are made using plantation pine plywood, hardwood fliches (a waste products from timber production) and recycled materials.
Because of the environmentally responsible ethos of the business Hollow Log Homes clients include, The Environmental Protection Agency, National Parks and Wildlife, Sunshine Coast Regional Council, Logan City Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council, Gold Coast City Council, Brisbane City Council, hervey Bay City Council, Southern Cross University, Griffith University, Energy Australia, Powerlink,The Woodford folk Festival and The Australian Defence Force. Hollow Log Homes received two awards in 2000 the Sunshine Coasts Environment council's 'Clean Industry' award and Maroochy Shire Councils 'Fauna Conservation' award.
Workshops can also be arranged for schools and community groups on a wide range of environmental issues including building your own nest boxes.
Installation and Monitoring of the boxes is an important part of the success of these wildlife boxes, much of the information on artificial hollows is anecdotal and needs to be documented and collated as new research comes to hand. Some boxes are still in experimental stage and Alan and Stacey hope to develop boxes that help with such problems as mosquito and cedar tip moth control by encouraging the growth of insectivorous bat populations. As we the humans have caused havoc in the environment so we must help restore it.
Hollow Log Homes
Alan & Stacey Franks,
Phone: 0754723142 Mobile: 0419196621
Gibbons, P. & Lindenmayer, D. 2002. Tree Hollows and Nature Conservation in Australia. CSIRO. Australia.
Smith, G. C., Lees, N., Ross, Y., 1998. Sustainable Forest Management Technical Report. Habitat Trees and Hollow Dependent Fauna. Department of Natural Resources, Queensland, Australia.
Hollow Log Homes, Coolum Beach
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