Flying foxes: breeding season might see a swell in numbers.

Our local flying fox colonies may start to swell in the next couple of months as its currently breeding season. Breeding season occurs annually between January to April. 

We never quite know what number of flying foxes we will have in our camps during breeding season, but historically the colony swells considerably in size this time of the year. Of the three species of flying fox found in Kooloonbung creek, the black and grey-headed flying fox have traditionally migrated here to breed.  The little red flying fox typically do not breed in NSW.

Last year we saw good increase in the numbers of the vulnerable Grey Headed Flying Fox in Kooloonbung Creek, resulting in a lot of babies being born between October and December.  Now developing into large juveniles, last year’s young can still be found clinging to their mother.  This is good news for the vulnerable species because in 2019 -2020 we did not record any babies being born and also noticed a real decline in the camp numbers for the Grey Headed Flying Fox – mostly due to starvation as a result of the ongoing drought at that time.

It is difficult to predict wildlife movements accurately, however this year we predict the camp numbers will increase during February to April as numbers have increased steadily over the past few months, many juveniles are developing and breeding activity is occurring. 

From January each mature male marks his territory in a tree with secretions from scent gland on his shoulders.  He defends it vigorously from other males with wing-spreading threat displays and loud calls. Increase in numbers along with breeding behaviour will result in increased noise, smell and occurrences of flying fox droppings.

Kooloonbung Creek Flying Fox Management Plan

The adoption of the Kooloonbung Creek Flying Fox Camp Management Plan (CMP) in June 2019, details the actions identified to ensure Council are managing the community impacts and the welfare of the flying-foxes roosting in Kooloonbung Creek Reserve. 

The CMP governs our approach to flying fox management and balances the needs of the residents living near the camp and the welfare and conservation of the flying foxes.  It identifies actions that will be taken to:

  • manage community impacts and concerns associated with the camp,
  • sustainably manage the flying fox camp more effectively,
  • improve community understanding on the critical ecological role of flying foxes,
  • ensure long term conservation of flying-foxes and their habitat,
  • ensure camp management does not contribute to loss of biodiversity or increase threats to threatened species within the reserve and
  • ensure management actions within the Crown Reserve 97763 Gazetted 19/04/1985 are consistent of the reserve purpose for: The Promotion of the Study and the Preservation of Native Flora and Fauna
Flying fox boxes - education resource free to hire
flying fox plush toy, books about flying foxes and images of flying fox related student worksheets

One aspect of the Kooloonbung Creek Flying Fox Management Plan is education.  Council’s education team together with our ecologist have put together a fantastic resource that schools can borrow to support education around the importance of the flying fox and their crucial ecological impact.  Schools can register to borrow the kit via our ConnectEd Schools website.

Interested to know where to find out more about flying fox colony counts and camp location, read out BlogEd article, Flying fox research and numbers.

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