Nest boxes, Phascogales and Gliders
Posted on 21 April, 2015 by Connecting Country
One of Connecting Country’s main activities is to monitor biodiversity across the Mount Alexander region. From 2009 to 2011, clusters of three nest boxes were installed at approximately 150 locations as a tool to monitor the distribution and health of the Brush-tailed Phascogale (also commonly known as the Tuan). These specially designed nest boxes were installed in both public and private land, and within large and small patches of native woodland and forest habitat.
In April and May of 2011, 2012 and 2014 with landholders’ permission, Connecting Country staff undertook monitoring of a large sample of these boxes. April and May is the time of year that has the least disturbance upon the Tuan. In late 2014, a short report of the overall findings, and the specific results for their properties, was sent to the landholders involved. A copy of this report is available (click here).
In summary from the 2014 surveys, about 30% of sites have Tuans present (which is the same as for 2012) and about 85% of sites have Sugar Gliders present (up from 75% in 2012). We think this is a pretty good result, and indicates a relatively healthy and stable population of both species.
We undertake a comprehensive survey of boxes every second year – so 2016 will be another big one. In the intervening years (including 2015), we encourage landholders to observe their boxes on dusk during April and May, and to let us know which animals come out of them, if any. An instructional guide which describes how to passively monitor nest boxes was produced by Connecting Country in 2013 (click here) – and a recording sheet can also be downloaded (click here). If time allows, we hope to visit a small number of boxes during autumn 2015, particularly those that have not been checked in previous years.
A local landholder in the Yandoit area has a remote surveillance camera set up to watch his nest boxes. The short videos he has recorded provide interesting (and often amusing) insights. (NB: We have found that these videos work on most, but not all, computers. Apologies in advance if they don’t all work on your computer!).
– Click here to see a video of two young gliders gliding off from the top of the box
– Click here to see a video of a female Tuan entering the box with a young one clinging to her back
– Click here to see interactions between a glider and a Tuan
Many thanks for these great videos.
Watch this website over the coming weeks for more information about the Tuan. And if you do see a Tuan anywhere across the region, please send us the details to add to our database (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(If we checked the boxes on your property last year, and you haven’t yet received your individual results – I apologise. We are missing some contact details for landholders. Please let us know, and we’ll send your update through straight away).