Swift Parrots

Subject: Swift Parrots
From: Chris Tzaros <>
Date: Thu, 08 Aug 2002 18:13:19 +1000
Hello all,

Thanks Michael Norris for reminding people to record all their Swift Parrot
observations and forward them to Debbie Saunders.  This is very important.
Even sightings of birds flying overhead, and not undertaking any kind of
foraging behaviour, are extremely useful because it gives us an indication
of movement patterns and times.  Remember - red underwings, long sharp
pointed tail, very fast, pip, pip, pip call = swift parrot.

There has been a spate of recent sightings in suburban Melbourne, including
small numbers of birds at Moonee Ponds, Hampton, Clayton (two sites),
Blackburn, Wantirna, Richmond and Altona.  At our place in Altona East, we
have had swifties there since the 31st May.  Last weekend, we had as many
as 15 birds in our street, mostly perching and occasionally taking lerp
from pink-flowering yellow gums.  I get the impression there are good
numbers in the neighbourhood, and most streets in the block have had
swifties along them.  I am busily renovating my new place but each trip
outside to cut timber is usually well-rewarded!  They even follow me to
Bunnings!  Last Thursday night, I observed (probably rather suspiciously
according to locals) three birds go to roost in Sugar Gums outside the
Altona Childcare Centre.  Lucky I'm not sending this message from jail!!!

The only birds reported recently from north of the divide in Victoria have
been two birds at Numurkah (feeding on lerp on River Red Gum) seen by Gary
Deayton, and 1 bird seen by Darren Quin, Mike Weston and myself on the
Wimmera River at Wail (coincidentally, 10 were seen there by Susie and
Fiona Anderson a couple of days later).  A wide scale search of the
box-ironbark was conducted on last weekends survey, but no swifties and
very very few honeyeaters and lorikeets.

I will allow Debbie to report on the NSW result when she return from the
field (she's probably seeing hundreds as we speak!).  I should say though
that the 'most interesting record' award should go to David Parker, who saw
38 on Saturday at Berrigan (east of Deniliquin) in a remnant woodland
reserve of Yellow Box/Callitris vegetation!!

Simon Kennedy reports that the birds in se. Qld. appear to have all gone.

Apparently, birds are already appearing in Tasmania.

Happy swiftying!!


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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