News & Events

Hollow Dependent Species of Portland District

Posted on: 10 March 2020

Would you be prepared to make a difference to the hollow dependent species we have living locally? If the answer is yes, then we need your help!

The widespread clearing of woodland habitat has had a negative effect on many woodland bird species. The reasons are varied and the conservation of what is left is critical. One of the largest impacts is the loss of mature hollow bearing trees.

Hollows are a valuable an essential resource for our wildlife. Many species of birds and gliders will use up to 6 different hollows over a 12 month period. This high demand for hollows can only be met if landholders and land managers are willing to conserve and protect these important trees.

As a community we need to be planning for our future. Planting more trees and protecting the ones we already have.

Portland has many hollow dependent species including the powerful owl, yellow tail black cockatoo, blue winged parrot and two types of gliders; sugar and yellow bellied gliders. Hollows typically form in living trees that are more than 80 - 120 years old. Old mature trees boast hollows suitable for nesting and rearing young. The protection of old trees is crucial and we need a whole of community approach to ensure everyone understands why they should do their very best to protect these trees.

Landcare groups in our community are trying to make a difference by actively planting trees (new homes) and implementing weed control programs (to prevent new trees from being smothered by weeds and enabling new young trees to grow).

Birds are sensitive to their environments. They have many needs and like many people don't like change! Landcare Group weed programs are often staged and timed so that wildlife can adapt slowly and move into new available habitat as it becomes available (new trees that have been planted). If it looks like we aren’t doing much fast it’s for one of two reasons – we either have a staged approach to a management program or we are waiting on funding approval for the next part of our project.

Old trees support a wider range of species than young trees; insects, moth’s butterflies, bugs, bees, birds and small mammals). Older trees capture far more carbon than young trees

Actions that landholders can take to support birds on farm

Protect what you have and enhance it by carrying out restorative actions (weed control, supplementary planting with the correct species and the protection of existing vegetation).

Increase the total amount of habit that is for wildlife (fencing off remnants, wetlands, streams etc).

Consider connectivity in the landscape when planning projects especially shelter belts.

Protect old paddock trees; leave fallen trees and logs in bushland as habitat for insect eating birds, lizards and frogs.

Control pests (foxes, cats and rabbits)

Aim to have 30% of your total farm area covered in local vegetation without decreasing production on the farm.

Actions town residents can take to support local wildlife

Support landcare community planting days – bring your family along and plant trees – farmers can’t and shouldn’t do it on their own. Tree’s clean our air, support wildlife and absorb carbon. This helps us all and our environment!  Vast areas of land are tied up in private property meaning this is where the opportunities to make the biggest difference lies. Farmers can get help with species selection, funding for trees and other technical advice, however they need community support to get the trees in the ground. If you want to help with this contact Ms Brewer and make time to volunteer yourself your business / club or your school class.

Educate yourself. Finding out what's in your back yard is essential to understanding what is happening in our environment. Borrow or buy some books on local wildlife and start learning about the amazing plants and animals we have here in the Portland District.

Two of my current favorite books are:

Birds of Portland District Victoria, by Robert Farnes. In it Robert captures the very essence of our local beauties with amazing photos and provides up to date information about the habitat requirements of many species.

For more information contact

Plants of the Great Southwest by Kevin Sparrow. This book is a great resource book for further developing your ID skills and provides tips and advice on how to grow many of the local plant species. For a copy email

If you are interested in helping to improve the habitat values for local wildlife why not join us on at of our Community Tree planting days? For more information contact Kristy or check our webpage for updates regarding the events sections

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All photos kindly supplied by the following: Dave Pitts, Lynn Murrell, Robert F. Farnes, Vivien Holyoake, Ivor Graney, Dr. Raelene Mibus and the Great South West Walk Inc.
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