Thirty-two nest boxes and log hollows for microbats and small birds were installed in trees along Merri Creek in Merri Park, Northcote by skilled arborists in early September. This work was supported by generous public donations to the Merri Creek Environment Fund and a grant from the Hazel and Arthur Bruce Bequest.
Who will take up residence in these new homes?
We need the help of volunteers to monitor the boxes and hollows through camera monitoring and “sunset watches” where we will look for bats and birds leaving and entering boxes and hollows. Our next community monitoring sessions are on Sunday 8 December, 10am-12pm (Registration essential) and Wednesday 19 February, 7.30-8.30pm.
Why do we need nest boxes and log hollows?
Over the last 40 years, MCMC, Friends of Merri Creek, government agencies and thousands of volunteers have revitalised the lower Merri Creek, resulting in a dramatic increase in the number and variety of bird species. However, many bird and microbat species require tree hollows to shelter and nest in. It can take up to 70 years for small hollows to form in trees and 100 years for large hollows.
Why are we targeting microbats and small birds?
A review of current literature and initial talks with Darebin Creek Management Committee, La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary and professional arborists, made it clear that nest box programs targeting small birds and microbats had the greatest likelihood of success. These smaller species are able to use nest boxes that Common Mynahs, an aggressive introduced species, are unable to fit into. Larger urban nest boxes can quickly be overrun by Common Mynahs which then use them as a base to dominate the parklands and chase out native species. Our feasibility report for the nest box project describes these issues.