Creating Homes for Threatened Species

Forbes Shire Council recently engaged OS Trees Pty Ltd to create twenty nesting hollows in existing dead trees at Gum Swamp to create new homes for the increasing birdlife in the area.

“This is such an important project for our region and the sustainability of the birdlife in our natural wetlands area,” says Forbes Shire Mayor, Phyllis Miller OAM. “Forbes is becoming well-known for its incredible birdlife and we want to build on the work currently being conducted in partnership with the Forbes Art Society at Gum Swamp with the installation of new bird hides around the waterway.”

The hollows project coincides with the refurbishment of the existing Bird Hide at Gum Swamp and the adding of several two-storey bird hides surrounding the wetlands. The bird hides are set to open to the public in later 2021.

“The man-made bird hollows utilise existing dead trees in the area which are stabilised and hides cut into the tree,” continues Mayor Miller.  “A number of limbs have been removed to ensure the trees have suitable balance with the view to assisting the trees to remain standing for a very long time. Any limbs that were cut have been left onsite, for ground habitat.”

The project was funded by the NSW Environmental Trust and the execution was coordinated by the Central West Councils Environment and Waterways Alliance.

“Tree hollows are so important to our native wildlife,” Mayor Miller concludes. "One reason in particular is the length of time that it takes for a tree hollow to form. In Australia, there are no animals that are able to create tree hollows (e.g. wood pecker in much of the rest of the world), therefore hollow creation is a very slow process. Sometimes it can take decades for hollows to form, which is why humans sometimes have to step in to give nature a helping hand.”

Gum Swamp Wetlands is located 5 kilometres south-west from Forbes along the Newell Highway.

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