Following the horrifying fires and drought last summer, it was obvious that our local wildlife needed extra help to build up their populations again and survive.
There has been an enormous amount of habitat destroyed throughout the east coast, killing uncountable numbers of mammals and birds, followed by a drastic loss of food resources and shelter and, in the longer term, breeding habitat for those that remained.
The Gloucester Environment Group realised that one simple and quick way to help future survival was to erect nesting boxes for species that require tree hollows to raise their young, such as birds, possums and gliders.
Our search for a supply of nesting boxes had a happy outcome when MidCoast Council passed on to us some excess boxes that were originally sourced by them from volunteers of FAWNA (For Australian Wildlife Needing Aid) who were building these as fast as they could for hollow dependent creatures.
So, on Wednesday September 23, with the support of council's Ian Jackson, and with Ben operating a cherry picker, we installed two possum, five large parrot and two feather-tailed glider boxes in Gloucester District Park. A further feather-tailed box was erected in King George Park.
Earlier in the month, we installed a bat box and a feather-tailed glider box in Minimbah Gardens within Gloucester District Park.
An important point in erecting nest boxes, particularly for possums that are very territorial (although many birds are also territorial), is that the boxes need to be far apart. You also need tall mature trees that provide shelter from hot sunlight (facing east or south-east more or less), three or more meters high and close to branches which make access easier for the occupants.
Even though Gloucester did not suffer fires within the town, there is generally a shortage of tree hollows in the area. This is caused by the loss of the really old trees that over many years develop a variety of hollows that can be used by different birds and mammals to raise their young. These include the brush-tailed and ring-tailed possums, yellow-bellied, sugar and feather-tailed Gliders, annual visitors like sacred kingfishers and dollarbirds, and many other birds that are resident year-round.
If you have possum problems in your roof, you may be able to cure the problem by installing a nest box as near as possible to your house.
Locate where the possum enters your roof and block that hole after the possum has exited one evening (you don't want dead possums in your roof). With luck the possum will move into the box and, as it is territorial, it will stop other possums visiting your home.