Connecting Country commenced the nest box program in the Mount Alexander shire and surrounds in mid-2010 and since then has installed over 450 boxes in private and public land. The nest boxes have been designed specifically for use by the threatened Brush-tailed Phascogale (also known as the Tuan), which is a nocturnal hollow-dependent marsupial that occurs in the local area.
The nest boxes provide supplementary habitat for the Tuans and other native animals such as the Sugar Glider. It is anticipated that the provision of additional nesting sites, albeit artificial, will lead to an increase in local Tuan populations and distribution.
The nest boxes are also located across the landscape systematically so that we can examine some of the factors that might influence whether they are being used by Tuans or other animals.
Nest Box Monitoring Results
In Autumn 2011, 255 boxes were inspected by Connecting Country at 85 locations and, in both Autumn 2012 and Autumn 2014, 300 boxes were inspected at 100 locations. We also received records from landholders and other persons who have seen Tuans either using the nest boxes, or have seen them elsewhere.
A summary report was prepared after the 2014 surveys (click here).
In 2016 we completed a full survey of all boxes – CLICK HERE to read our thrilling results!
Citizen science program: The next chapter
Connecting Country are moving to a community-based monitoring program, where members of the public, as volunteers, can get out and about the shire and monitor the 450 nestboxes. The idea behind the citizen science monitoring is to build the capacity of the community to come up with research questions and implement the monitoring to gather the data for the research. Connecting Country will be facilitating this program and ensuring the science is the most useful and effective methodology and that the data is most useful for conservation purposes.
Four ways to get involved in nest box monitoring:
- Download a copy of the Nest Box Monitoring and Tuan Identification Guide
- Complete the Nestbox Monitoring Survey Sheet, and return by email
- Lodge your opportunistic observations of Tuans and other fauna with Connecting Country by sending them to email@example.com
- Click here for more information on making your own next boxes.
Contact Jess if you are interested in monitoring nest boxes on your own property or elsewhere (firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 5472 1594).