Rotary's Native Bird Box Project


Clearing of land for housing, farming and vineyards has resulted in the removal of many trees with hollows. The demand for firewood has also meant that many dead trees, some several hundred years old, have been cut down with the resultant loss of breeding sites. Many existing hollows are occupied by feral honey bees and starlings.  With recently planted trees, it will be at least one hundred years before suitable nesting hollows develop.  As our birds cannot wait that long, we must supply them with alternatives.  Many species are threatened with extinction because of lost habitat and lack of nesting hollows. 

Fourteen or fifteen years ago, District Assemblies for 9500 and 9520 approved the foundation of ROBIN (Rotary Nest Box Project Inc.) as a joint District Committee with Rotarian Barry Barrett as Chairman and PDG Don Sarah as Deputy.

ROBIN works closely with the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Adelaide and Flinders Universities by sponsoring students who monitor boxes in the Fleurieu Peninsula, Kangaroo Island, the Riverland, South East SA and Western Victoria, the Adelaide Zoo and the mallee regrowth forest at Monarto Zoological Park.

Currently Doctor David Paton and students from the University of Adelaide are testing various types of nest boxes at Monartoto suit Owlet Nightjars. Over the years, ROBIN has awarded significant grants to eight Honours and PhD students from Adelaide and Flinders universities to conduct research projects related to the preservation of native birds and mammals.Since its inception, ROBIN has encouraged members of Rotary Clubs, schools and community groups to construct nest boxes using various designs, and environmentalists and other enthusiastic have placed some 3,000 in various locations throughout the state.

Rotary's Native Bird Nestbox Project (ROBIN) has been working for more than a decade supporting projects to promote nest boxes and resting places for our native birds and animals.

More than 3000 boxes have been placed. Among our many successes has been the rediscovering and increased support for the feathertail glider and western pygmy possum.

Our innovative committee member, Bryan Pointon, has built a device with a miniature camera on aluminium, extendable pole transmitting to a ground based television screen and video recorder to overcome the ladder problem. This eliminates the danger of climbing ladders and allows school groups to participate in exciting conservation projects. 

Those interested should contact our Chairman, Roger Trethewey (9500)

Calperum Station

The Nest box project on Calperum Station is a collaboration between Australian Landscape Trust and Rotary's ROBIN Nest Box program. It commenced in 1998 and has evolved over time from a number of different activities. These included specific surveys for Feathertail Gliders and for bats, plus activities including Rotary, Lions and school groups.

Over 360 nest boxes of various types were supplied to the Bookmark Biosphere Reserve, but only about 210 of these boxes were set up on Calperum Station - the others being established elsewhere and managed by other groups. The first boxes at Calperum Station were set up in July 1999 as part of a regional survey of Feathertail Gliders, but most boxes (2000-2002) were established in a number of habitats across Calperum with roughly half in the malllee and half on the floodplains.

Feathertail Gliders and bats use tree hollows high in the tree tops and are consequently very hard to study and locate. This was one of the reasons for establishing nest boxes for these species. It was hoped that these boxes would help determine the distribution, habitat preferences and status of the Feathertail Glider, the Little Pied Bat and the Greater Long-eared Bat. There were also intentions to encourage re-colonisation of gliders through translocation to Reny Island, as part of the landscape and species recovery program. However, since very few gliders were found this project was terminated.



Roger Trethewey 
              Phone 08 8278 7491  Email