Swift Parrots, dead birds, Regent Honeyeaters, this weekend.....

Subject: Swift Parrots, dead birds, Regent Honeyeaters, this weekend.....
From: Chris Tzaros <>
Date: Thu, 23 May 2002 08:55:49 +1000
Just a quick reminder that this coming weekend (25/26th) is the National
Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater survey.  Both project co-ordinators,
Debbie Saunders (SP) and David Geering (RH), have already heard from
participants but if you are still thinking about heading out and would like
suggestions of where to search, it is not too late.  Debbie and David are
already in the field looking so if you're interested, please contact me.

Most of you have been well-informed of the few sightings of Swift Parrots
from Vic. and NSW (thanks to people like Aidan Sudbury, Trevor Kerr and
Alan Morris who give regular updates).  The autumn of 2002 has been
relatively quiet for Swift Parrot records so far - most birds have been
sighted around Melbourne with a few now appearing on the south, central and
north coast of NSW.  

Fortunately for birders, one does not have to travel far to see these
lovely birds as any patch of urban parkland with flowering eucalypts is a
real chance.  Usually at this time, they would be recorded in numerous
areas in the box-ironbark woodlands of central and north-east Vic. and
along the inland slopes of the Divide through NSW.  Due to a lack of
eucalypt flowering and an apparent low abundance of lerp in these areas,
birds have been recorded at just a handful of sites. 

The unfortunate side to having Swift Parrots occur within close proximity
to humans is that they are notorious for crashing into man-made structures
such as windows and wire-mesh fences (mainly due to the high speeds that
Swift Parrots are capable of flying).  

Over the past fortnight, I have collected three dead adult Swift Parrots
and a fourth bird was handed-in to DNRE in Bendigo last week.  Two birds I
collected were at Scotchman's Creek Reserve, Oakleigh, where a large flock
of parrots was present for two weeks in May.  Extraordinarily high
wire-mesh fences along the boundary of the golf cousre were responsible for
the birds death.  Yesterday, I visited Deakin University's Waurn Ponds
(Geelong) campus and observed about 12 swifties feeding and flying around
the carpark, and picked-up one dead adult female that had apparently
crashed into a window.  Unfortunate as this is, at least the birds have
been collected and they will be used for educational and identification
purposes by the Swift Parrot Recovery Team, rather than just being wasted.
Let's hope no more dead parrots are found, but please, if you do happen to
come across any, contact me and I will arrange for their collection.  We
can still learn a lot about the birds once they're dead - I would like to
start keeping a photographic record of all objects that have killed Swift
Parrots, and also take measurements, weights and plumage details of specimens.

Let's hope lots of live swifties and regents will be spotted this weekend!

Happy birding.

Chris Tzaros
Co-ordinator, Threatened Bird Network
Birds Australia (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) 
National Office
415 Riversdale Rd
Hawthorn East, Vic., 3123
Ph: 03-9882-2622
Fax: 03-9882-2677
Website address:

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