As some of you, especially Melbournians, may have been following, Swift
Parrots have turned-up at a couple of spots over the past week or so. I
was lucky enough to get down to Sandringham and see the birds that Michael
It was with much surprise (a bloody thrill actually!) that I saw two birds
here at the Rusden campus of Deakin University this morning at 7.30 am.
The birds were in a lightly flowering non-indigenous eucalypt (being ID'd
at the moment), but were not feeding. I got closer but unfortunately
disturbed them, and they burst from the canopy in usual Swift Parrot
fashion, and headed off towards Monash Uni, Clayton.
For those of you who aren't so familiar with the habits of Swift Parrots,
you may well wonder why we are making such a fuss about these sightings.
Swift Parrots breed in Tasmania, mainly around the north and east, between
the months of November to Jan-Feb. After breeding, the species migrates to
mainland Australia, where it spends the autumn and winter seeking nectar
and lerp, most often in the box-ironbark woodlands of Victoria and New
South Wales. The arrival of SP to the mainland, and their departure, are
extremely variable between years, but generally they are expected to leave
around early October to establish nesting sites and raise young. These
birds would then return from as early as February, but usually late
So these birds presently in Melbourne are somewhat late in returning to
Tassie. As fortunate as we are to have these delightful little birds
hanging around, we really should hope they depart very soon in order for
them to have a go at breeding this season.
Melbournians - keep your eyes peeled. I would expect that there are
several more birds around the suburbs. Although Simon Kennedy is currently
on honey-moon in north QLD, I'm sure he would be interested in these
records when he returns.
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