Swifties in Wyong Shire, and elsewhere.

To: "Alan Morris" <>
Subject: Swifties in Wyong Shire, and elsewhere.
From: Chris Tzaros <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jun 2002 08:34:10 +1000
Hi Alan and others,

In regards to the number of Swift Parrots currently in the Wyong Shire, it
is very possible that there is 25% of the entire population there.  As
reported in the latest Wingspan, the current estimate is 2000 birds, maybe
more after good breeding years as young supplement adult numbers (the 2001
breeding season was highly successful).  

It is reasonably common for mainland areas to have such high percentages of
the total swiftie pop. at any one time, considering the gregarious nature
of the species and, as is the case this year, the lack of widespread food
resources.  Any rich nectar patch, especially those spread over a large
area and particularly areas which also offer lerp, are likely to attract
good numbers of parrots, hence their occurrence now in south-east
Queensland (as reported by Simon Kennedy last week).  Birds are having to
travel further to find food.  This is the 'quitest' year I can remember for
Swifties in Victoria.  There are no birds known to be in the box-ironbark
region at all.  The only swifties I know of presently in Victoria are
around my house!  I have just moved to Altona (west of Melbourne) where
I've been renovating for the past week, and have had small numbers of birds
fly over, and the occasional bird stop in the introduced roadside Yellow
Gums.  These trees are not flowering but there is a bit of lerp.  Maybe
they're lost and wanting to find their way to NSW!

I eagerly await the return migration of Swifties on their way home to
Tasmania around September.  At that time, Yellow Gum (natural stands in the
box-ironbark and introduced ones - like the ones along my street!) will
possibly be in flower.  Will the birds stock up on nectar before they depart?

And one other final departing question or two.  What has happened to the
'box-ironbark' honeyeaters, namely Fuscous and Yellow-tufted?  Numerous
observers are reporting low numbers of these species, as well as all other
nectarivores, from the Vic. box-ironbark.  Other nectarivores though (Musk,
Little and Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Noisy and Little Friarbirds, Red
Wattlebirds, White-naped Honeyeaters etc.) are being picked up elsewhere.
Have the fuscies and tufties just died?  Have they become ultra quiet and
undetectable?  Have they moved off somewhere to find food?  Where is this
'somewhere'?  Thoughts welcome.

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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