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One of the many spectacular birds to fly across the Tamborine Mountain skies is the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. It is often heard before it is seen, it has a haunting “kee-ow” wail and is usually seen in small flocks. They are a pleasure to watch with their slow wing-beat and undulating, buoyant flight and streaming long black tails.

This species is an impressive bird 55-66cm with a large body and long tail. It has black plumage with many body feathers edged in yellow, yellow tail panels, a low yellow crest on its forehead and yellow cheek patches. Males have dark grey/black beak and small cheek patch while females have a paler brown beak and larger cheek patches.

They have a wide distribution in south-eastern Australia from the Eyre Peninsular to south and central Queensland, but in some areas are critically endangered or vulnerable. Their habitat is coastal heath to mountain forests; they may also visit pine plantations, farms, larger parks and gardens.

Their powerful beaks are ideal for breaking open native seeds which forms most of their diet, they also eat insects and wood grubs. Although they have adapted their diet to pine cones, these are not as nutritious as native foods.

The birds have a long breeding season, both males and females help to construct the nest, which is a large tree hollow, lined with wood-chips, in a tall tree. The female incubates the eggs and cares for the chicks while the male supplies them with food. Usually 2 eggs are laid but chick mortality is high and it is most common for only one chick to survive. The chick stays with its parents for about 6 months.

The Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo is under threat in some areas due mainly to habitat loss through clearing, fires and fragmentation.

The loss of nesting hollows also presents a threat to many native animals and birds, including the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, which depend on tree hollows for breeding. The birds cannot excavate the hollows themselves, the hollows only occur through e tree ageing.  To provide the right hollow a tree usually must be over 200 years old. When old trees are removed the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo has nowhere to nest and like all other hollow dependant species, its numbers decline.  To help preserve hollows do not remove old trees and check the source of your firewood, indiscriminate firewood collection often results in the loss of many old trees.

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Why does attentiveness to nature matter? In a very fundamental sense, we are what we pay attention to. Paying heed to beauty, grace, and everyday miracles promotes a sense of possibility and coherence that runs deeper and truer than the often illusory commercial, social "realities" advanced by mainstream contemporary culture. ... Our attention is precious, and what we choose to focus it on has enormous consequences. What we choose to look at, and to listen to--these choices change the world. As Thich Nhat Hanh has pointed out, we become the bad television programs that we watch. A society that expends its energies tracking the latest doings of the celebrity couple is fundamentally distinct from one that watches for the first arriving spring migrant birds, or takes a weekend to check out insects in a mountain stream, or looks inside flowers to admire the marvelous ingenuities involved in pollination. The former tends to drag culture down to its lowest commonalities; the latter can lift us up in a sense of unity with all life. The Way of Natural History, edited by Thomas Lowe Fleischner and published by Trinity University Press (Texas)