Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

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Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Overlandman » Tue 19 Nov, 2013 4:07 pm

From ABC News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-19/e ... le/5102714

The population of one of the world's rarest birds, the orange-bellied parrot, has been artificially increased with the release of more captive birds into Tasmania's south-west wilderness.

The release of 24 birds at Melaleuca was prompted by a dramatic decline in the number of wild parrots migrating from South Australia and Victoria to Tasmania for the summer breeding season.

Captive management spokeswoman Jocelyn Hockey says the release doubles the numbers in the wild.

"There wasn't the minimum number that we would have liked to have seen down here [at Melaleuca]," she said.

"For the last two years we had decided that a minimum of 20 birds, so 10 breeding pairs, was what we wanted to see down here and unfortunately this year, it didn't quite make it."

Just 17 birds returned to the annual migration area at the Melaleuca outpost, down from about 50 last year.

The decline is worrying conservationists, but Peter Copley from the South Australian environment department is hopeful the release of the captive parrots will save the species in the wild.

Mr Copley said many of the issues that led to the significant drop in the wild population are easing on the Australian mainland.

"A large part of the issues in recent years was the millennium drought years when the quality of the habitat, quality of their food plants was so poor," Mr Copley said.

It is hoped predictions for wetter conditions will boost seed supplies in South Australia and Victoria where the birds spend winter.
Long road ahead

The captive parrots were chosen specifically for their potential to breed with and learn from wild birds.

The birds were flown to Melaleuca from breeding facilities at Taroona in Tasmania and Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria.

Even though the release more than doubles the current wild population, those involved with the recovery program accept there is an uphill battle to save the species from extinction.

"We had a group of seven down at the bird hide this morning and we saw one captive male in there. So one is good, one out of seven," Healesville Sanctuary spokeswoman Kristy Penrose said.

"To see them out there and interacting with the wild birds and coming and going from the release aviary and really finding their feet is very exciting for us."

It takes a lot of preparation and planning to get the captive birds ready for release.

The parrots were isolated from the almost 300 birds in the breeding program and checked for disease and fitness.

Ms Penrose says the birds were then put in larger aviaries.

"Then we spend a lot of time trying to build up their fitness, chasing them around the aviary, trying to keep them moving."

A release at Birchs Inlet on Tasmania's west coast two years ago was initially successful, but because there were no wild birds to teach captive birds how to migrate, the released parrots died.

The outpost at Melaleuca has now been chosen as a release location because it is the last known place where wild birds gather in flocks.

"The wild birds know the area, know how to behave as wild birds and can teach the captive birds how to forage, how to avoid predators and then make the migration back to the mainland," senior keeper Jocelyn Hockley said.

"What we're expecting to see is the wild birds go 'oh look a couple more have turned up. We're going to hang out with them and we're going to show them what to do.'"

Whether the latest release has been successful will not be known for 12 months.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby MrWalker » Tue 19 Nov, 2013 6:33 pm

I would be surprised if the wild birds teach the released ones how to migrate.
Maybe the released ones will convince the wild ones there is no need to leave the area because someone will always turn up with some birdseed.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby icefest » Wed 12 Nov, 2014 12:54 am

MrWalker wrote:I would be surprised if the wild birds teach the released ones how to migrate.
Maybe the released ones will convince the wild ones there is no need to leave the area because someone will always turn up with some birdseed.

At least one of the ones released has made the trip back again:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=754291907978125

Image
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby oldpiscator » Wed 12 Nov, 2014 7:44 am

"It is hoped predictions for wetter conditions will boost seed supplies in South Australia and Victoria where the birds spend winter.
Long road ahead"
Don't know whose prediction this is but we are going through one of our driest springs on record here in Geelong (some of the parrots spend winter here at Avalon), grain crops are failing and BOM forecasts are for dry conditions.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby icefest » Wed 12 Nov, 2014 8:04 am

oldpiscator wrote:"It is hoped predictions for wetter conditions will boost seed supplies in South Australia and Victoria where the birds spend winter.
Long road ahead"
Don't know whose prediction this is but we are going through one of our driest springs on record here in Geelong (some of the parrots spend winter here at Avalon), grain crops are failing and BOM forecasts are for dry conditions.

I think that was a prediction about the last winter (which I'm hoping this winter was wet enough).

The bigger issue is if we get another strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole next year. That tends to have a much greater effect on us than a El Nino.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Overlandman » Wed 26 Nov, 2014 5:57 pm

Update from ABC News

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-26/r ... ection=tas

One of the world's rarest species, the orange bellied parrot, has bucked its long-term trend of decline and almost doubled its wild population.

The critically endangered birds, which spend winter in South Australia and Victoria, have just migrated to the remote Melaleuca outpost in Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area for the breeding season.

Last November, fewer than 10 wild breeding pairs returned to Melaleuca, prompting a recovery program to arrange for the population to be artificially increased.

Twenty-four birds were released at Melaleuca and now 34 have returned for the summer breeding season, which Rosemary Gales from Tasmania's environment department said was a significant boost.

"[Thirty-four] may sound like a really low number, but it's about double what we had last year," she said.

"Last year, we only had 18 return, so to have 34 is early days, but it is really encouraging."

About half of the wild population is male and the other half female, boosting hope there would be a strong breeding season.

"The exciting thing is that ... some of the adults that we released last year have undertaken the migration north and come back south, so that's a fantastic result," Ms Gales said.

"In addition, some of their offspring - so they fledged chicks at Melaleuca last year and those chicks have retained their genetic memory and successfully migrated back."

The birds are starting to pair up and lay eggs at the moment and conservationists hope to see many chicks hatch at Melaleuca next month.
More releases planned to bolster population

The Melaleuca release was different to other releases because wild birds were also present, to teach captive-bred birds how to forage for food and migrate.

The last release of orange bellied parrots (OBPs) at Birchs Inlet on Tasmania's West Coast was in 2011, but a population never established at the site.

"There were no wild parrots left in the area and so really it was a virgin site," Ms Gales said.

"We still have wild OBPs at Melaleuca and that's why we're now embarking on a series of translocations to try and get the species over the line before they go extinct in the wild."

The senior keeper at DPIPWE's Taroona aviaries, Jocelyn Hockley, said another 27 birds were released this month to further increase the species' wild population.

"We'd like to see 20 animals back, so 10 breeding pairs," she said.
Project decades in the making

The orange bellied parrot recovery program has been running for three decades across several states.

Ms Hockley said the released birds were from aviaries in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania - the birds' natural habitat.

"The birds migrate over such a great distance and can spread over such a vast variety of landscapes on the mainland, from Victoria right through to the Coorong region of South Australia," she said.

The birds live for about two-and-a-half years in the wild, but one seven-year-old parrot has been at Melaleuca this year.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby tastrax » Wed 26 Nov, 2014 9:52 pm

Overlandman wrote:About half of the wild population is male and the other half female


:lol: :lol: I thought at least some might be transgender or two headed - this is Tasmania after all :lol: :lol:

Cheers - Phil
(From fine Tasmanian breeding stock....)
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby icefest » Mon 01 Jun, 2015 6:43 pm

http://m.smh.com.au/environment/disease ... he6xq.html



Around 64 wild parrots flew out of their single Tasmanian breeding colony this autumn for Victorian coastal wintering grounds. Of those, 27 were captive-bred and released last summer, an annual report said.

Evidence of the disease is said to have been found at the Melaleuca breeding colony in the south-west wilderness five months ago.

Obvious clinical signs were discovered in January in two precious clutches, each of four nestlings, hatched at Melaleuca, Fairfax Media has been told.

The nestlings were listless and shedding feathers when they were inspected. However no treatment was given, and their nest boxes were not revisited.

They are believed to have died, reducing the true count of migrating birds. At least one sick adult was also seen at a Melaleuca feeding table.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Overlandman » Fri 12 Jun, 2015 11:43 am

The Federal Government is preparing to announce a $525,000 rescue package for the threatened orange-bellied parrot.

The move is expected to be announced at an urgent meeting in Melbourne today that is seeking to find a remedy for a deadly beak-and-feather disease affecting the species.

Nineteen of the 26 chicks that hatched last summer in southern Tasmania were infected with the often fatal disease.

The illness posed a dire threat to the fragile population ahead of its annual winter migration to Victoria and South Australia.

There are believed to be less than 50 left in the wild, making the parrot one of Australia's most endangered species.

Dr Eric Wohler from Bird Life Australia said the parrot was vulnerable to numerous threats.

"This is the problem we get when we have a small population," he said.

"Any one event, any random event - it could be a wild fire, it could be a disease, it could be a massive predator attack - can have a catastrophic and devastating effect on the remaining population."

Efforts to steer the bird from extinction have been in place for 30 years with the first captive breeding program established in 1986.

In 2006, when numbers sank to between 100 and 150 adult birds and the species was listed as "critically endangered", the Federal Government pledged $3.2 million to protect and extend the parrot's habitat.

In 2011, most of the wild offspring were taken into captivity as a kind of protective custody.

Despite these efforts, the parrot population has continued to decline, with sugar gliders presenting a significant predatory threat.

Earlier this year, a group of researchers from the Australian National University launched a successful crowdfunding campaign to fund the building of 1,000 glider-proof nesting boxes for the orange-bellied parrot and two other native bird species.

The group exceeded its orange-bellied parrot target of $40,000 by $60,000.

Its members said they would use the money to search World Heritage areas for evidence of parrot populations that were unaccounted for.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Overlandman » Thu 08 Oct, 2015 7:53 pm

From ABC
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-10-08/e ... ot/6839266

Authorities have reported encouraging signs about the population of the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot.

Thirteen birds have been sighted at Melaleuca in Tasmania's south-west since the start of September, signalling an early start to the season.

The first bird spotted was the earliest recorded sighting since 1999.

Eric Woehler from Birds Tasmania said it was unusual to see 13 birds so early in the season.

"That represents a little bit under 20 per cent of the known global population in the wild," he said.

"The earlier the birds are here the longer they are on the breeding ground, and potentially they have the capacity to spend more time looking for suitable nesting sites and getting the energy resources for a breeding season."

Threatened Species Commissioner Gregory Andrews was also encouraged by the early arrivals.

"Governments and the conservation community and scientists are doing all they can to support the bird, and the bird's doing its best as well, so I'm optimistic," he said.

Last year, 35 wild adult birds returned to Melaleuca at the start of the season, which was a 94 per cent increase on the previous season.

Ranked as one of the world's rarest and most endangered species
Only a few hundred birds remain
Breeds only in Tasmania and spends the winter in coastal Victoria and South Australia
Habitat loss is a major threat to the orange-bellied parrot
Orange-bellied parrots mate for life

But an outbreak of beak and feather disease dealt the species a blow with 19 wild parrot nestlings and one adult testing positive.

After an emergency meeting, the Federal Government provided an extra $500,000 to expand captive breeding programs, scientific studies and disease management.

Mr Andrews hoped this season's encouraging start would help those recovery efforts.

"There has been a wonderful response from all areas of the team to assist the species, and it is encouraging for all of us to have these early arrivals," he said.

"By adjusting the management practices and boosting the science and boosting funding for captive breeding, we hope to kick-start a program and a process where the orange-bellied parrot, in five years' time, its numbers are significantly higher than they are now."
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby tastrax » Fri 09 Oct, 2015 12:22 pm

You can keep an eye on how many birds have arrived at Melaleuca via the Wildcare Friends of OBP's site

http://wildcaretas.org.au/branches/friendsobp/
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Overlandman » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 8:34 pm

Not Good
From ABC

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-04/o ... ty/7066880

Fourteen critically endangered orange-bellied parrots have been killed by rats at a captive breeding facility in Tasmania.

The birds were part of a national recovery program.

There are fewer than 70 orange-bellied parrots in the wild, with some estimates putting the figure at 32.

Tasmania's Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) breeds the birds in the Hobart suburb of Taroona to help bolster critically low numbers of parrots in the wild.

The Taroona facility houses about 160 parrots, about half of the captive population.

Howel Williams, from DPIPWE, said the department had been recently trying to breed more parrots, meaning the facility was at capacity and some birds had been housed in an old unit.

In one weekend in early December several birds were taken and at that point, even though we've always had a vermin control program, we realised that we had a problem...
Howel Williams, DPIPWE
"Basically it's a very old facility, and the floor and possibly the walls just don't have the integrity that they should do," Mr Williams said.

A couple of parrots were killed by rats in October and November.

Orange-bellied parrot, male
PHOTO: Some of the birds had been housed in an old facility that rats were able to breach. (Supplied: Chris Tzaros)
"And then in one weekend, in early December, several birds were taken and at that point, even though we've always had a vermin control program, we realised that we had a problem that we weren't dealing with and brought in a vermin controller," he said.

The birds in the unit were diseased, non-breeding birds housed in a quarantine facility to keep them away from the other parrots at the site.

Their disease status was monitored in case they could become breeding birds later.

Mr Williams said the loss was significant.

"It won't have any impact on this year's breeding program, and it shouldn't have an impact on the longer-term breeding program," he said.

The department is decommissioning the units in which the birds were housed, and is satisfied that will prevent any further deaths by rats.

Rats a previous threat at Taroona facility

At the same aviary two years ago, a cat breached a perimeter fence and killed two birds.

Mark Holdsworth, a wildlife biologist and former leader of the orange-bellied parrot national recovery team, said the latest deaths were a serious worry.

"To have any deaths, and particularly for the keepers on the ground, is really distressing," Mr Holdsworth said.

"For over 30 years we've never had a death by rats in those facilities.

"I find it quite bizarre that that could happen in such a short period of time."

Mr Holdsworth said rats had started to become a problem when he was part of the recovery team.

"But they are manageable, so you keep on top of it with proper poisoning regimes or trapping if necessary," he said.

"In this case, I don't think people have been observant enough or didn't have the enough skills to understand how to do this."

Mr Holdsworth is calling for an independent review of the program at Taroona.

"In this case I think there's been a failure in communication and a failure in action from management."

In a statement, Tasmanian Environment Minister Matthew Groom said he had full confidence in the department's management of the program.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby north-north-west » Mon 04 Jan, 2016 10:26 pm

Overlandman wrote:Mark Holdsworth, a wildlife biologist and former leader of the orange-bellied parrot national recovery team...

Is this the same Mark Holdsworth who was a trainee ranger back in my TasPAWS days? Talk about a blast from the past.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby tastrax » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 7:22 am

Yep, same person - recently "retired"
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby north-north-west » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 7:38 am

Cheers. Good to see so many of those youngsters stuck with the service and/or the cause one way or another. They were a pretty good group for the most part.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Overlandman » Tue 03 Oct, 2017 7:16 pm

From ABC
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-10-03/o ... ng/9011536

Blue/black F, believed to be the oldest orange-bellied parrot in the wild, has defied the odds to make it back to Tasmania to breed.

The nine-year-old bird was hatched and raised in southern Tasmania, and has crossed Bass Strait about 20 times.

Each summer, the species migrates from the Victorian and South Australian coast to Melaleuca in south-west Tasmania to breed.

Regards OLM
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Hallu » Tue 03 Oct, 2017 9:09 pm

"This bird could become extinct within the next year or two." damn =(
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby north-north-west » Mon 09 Oct, 2017 5:25 pm

Oddly enough, I've seen at least as many OBPs elsewhere as at Melaleuca - from the eastern side of the South Cape Range to the northern Tarkine. Even up near Anne.
Maybe it's the same two or three birds stalking me . . .
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby tastrax » Mon 09 Oct, 2017 5:55 pm

I am sure the researchers would love any details, especially if you get the band details and a grid reference of where you spotted them.
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby north-north-west » Mon 09 Oct, 2017 6:19 pm

Only one of them was obviously banded, and that was the male of the pair near the South Cape Range. Have to dig out the notes from that walk to see what the bands were.
Grid refs would be take almost as long - depends how hard it is to cudgel the memory into coughing up the exact times and places.

The female up on Anne's North East Ridge is still the one that boggles me the most.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Overlandman » Tue 06 Feb, 2018 7:31 pm

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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby north-north-west » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 8:04 am

Well, look at that - the scientists reckon a lack of regular burning in the breeding grounds means there's insufficient feed for the birds. Funny how the disruption to palawa practices such as burning has impacted the ecology, isn't it? Almost like the place and resident species were well-adapted to it . . .
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Nuts » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 8:32 am

Buttongrass doesn't need fire to set seed. Conjecture or studied effect on such a small population? Has buttongrass retracted significantly- so far?
Nevertheless, poor birds run the gauntlet bwtn what can only be lessened habitats (for them)
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby north-north-west » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 8:45 am

They eat a lot more than just buttongrass seed: "...food consisting of seeds, fruits, flowers and berries of sedges, herbaceous plants and plants that grow in salty or alkaline conditions such as saltmarshes."
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Nuts » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 9:17 am

Yeah, i'd like to see the research mentioned, and relationship to OBP numbers, just purely out of interest(?)

Sure, Buttongrass habitat can only be less diverse without regular burning. It makes sense that these environs wont be getting better (for the parrots).
I doubt a regular burning regime, to enhance/maintain this altered habitat, can ever be realistically a part of P&W operations. I'd hope the OPB would have a chance to thrive without such a thing.
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby tastrax » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 9:26 am

Nuts wrote:I doubt a regular burning regime, to enhance/maintain this altered habitat, can ever be realistically a part of P&W operations.


In actual fact the primary reason for the burning at Melaleuca is for the OBP habitat management. Further afield is not so much for OBP habitat but to break up large areas of unburnt country - side effect is its also good for the OBP's
Cheers - Phil

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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Nuts » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 9:37 am

Thanks Phil, I understand that some burning has occurred around Melaleuca. I wasn't aware it was specifically for the OBP.
Is their future dependent on this? If so, how often is it considered necessary?

ie. I see: 'Its main food preferences are found in sedgelands which have not been burned for between 3-15 years'. But is burning significant for survival of the species?

I'd imagine general management burns would be most helpful on the forested/sedgeland verge (for OBP's aside from containing wildfire spread or maintaining the altered landscape).
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Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby tastrax » Wed 07 Feb, 2018 5:35 pm

I think the OBP's can use all the help they get, that's why there are regular mosaic burns to provide a range of ages in the local area. There are also some burns to protect heritage buildings so they are dual purpose.
Cheers - Phil

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Region: Tasmania

Re: Orange Bellied Parrot x 24 Released at Melaleuca

Postby Nuts » Wed 14 Feb, 2018 8:26 am

Yes, all the help. Hopefully the contribution at Melaleuca helps, as well as the captive program.
Not to divert from the highlight but OBP plight is one small reflection of our care of habitat as a whole, many other benefactors.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... king-order
坚果
Nuts
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
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Region: Tasmania


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