wouldn't be too quick in discarding the possibility of this bird's existence.
Also on google, there was a reference to a Swiss Parrot keeper. So, if they
are kept in captivity, they must exist, no?... Maybe the money is to be used for
a captive breeding program?:-)
Paul Van Gasse
Jade Welch enquired about Swiss Parrot, and someone
(I forget who - sorry) did a Google search (as I had recommended to Jade only
moments before) and came up with a single reference to Swiss Parrot. I
couldn't resist having a look at this reference, apparently refering to a ?
mythical psittacine. What I found was unexpected and delightful. I have
reproduced it in full below, with the key reference highlighted in
bold. I suspect you'll enjoy this droll little piece that the
author (? who) seems to have managed to slip into what appears to be otherwise
a reasonably sober little communication.
( May 1997 )
This section of the site is devoted to
recent news on parrots around Australia and it is hoped will be updated each
month. Some of the more interesting snippets will be expanded into articles in
In Tasmania the Swift
Parrot Recovery Plan was among the first to receive funding from the National
Heritage Trust - a benefit to Tasmania Senator Harradine may not have foreseen
when he voted for the sale of Telstra. It is hoped work on the Swift Parrot
will get under way in the near future. Watch this space for an advertisement
for a parrot biologist.
Half way to Victoria, on King Island, Mark
Holdsworth and Jon Starks had a successful time watching Orange-bellied
Parrots with ten or so colour-banded birds being identified individually. Mark
is going back in the near future to see if the same individuals stay there or
whether there has been a change over.
In Western Australia Allan
Burbidge recently visited the south coast to search areas west of Albany where
Ground Parrots were seen in the early 1980s, though haven't been since.
Eventually it is hoped to reintroduce the parrots to the best of this
In the same state Ron Johnstone is continuing to find nests of
the various black-cockatoos that nest in the south-west forests as part of
long-term work to look at long-term habitat requirements.
Island the Glossy Black-Cockatoo season is progressing well with 25 nests
currently active out of 41 found so far this season. The first chick of the
year has fledged though others are not due to leave the nest until September.
Research on the Glossies on King Island will wind down after this breeding
season with Tamra Chapman starting the write up of her Ph.D. on the
relationship between the birds and their food and Gabriel Crowley and Stephen
Garnett completing their work on the birds' conservation biology. Lynn Pedler,
however, will continue to work with the volunteer coordinator on nest
monitoring and the annual census.
In New Zealand Mark Jarrett () reports on his work on
Keas: Kea (Nestor notabilis) are a fully protected parrot that are
endemic to mountainous areas of the South Island, New Zealand. They are
attracted to rubbish dumps and villages where they scavenge for food. At these
sites they investigate by manipulating and chewing anything novel in the
environment. Because of this they may come into contact with a range of
materials, some of which are toxic if ingested.
As part of a broad
based study on the health and condition of Kea that forage at rubbish dumps I
have found evidence that suggests that lead toxicity may be a significant
cause of ill health in Kea. Further work on exposure to organochlorine
pesticides and the effects of these and lead on the health and body condition
is being carried out.
In New Guinea Greg Pryor and Stephen Garnett are
hoping to visit the Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area next month to
start work on Pesquet's Parrot and Palm Cockatoos respectively. Palm Cockatoos
are also under investigation at Iron Range, north Queensland where Daryn
Storch is currently monitoring nesting in association with members of the
Lockhart River community. Rob Heinsohn and Sarah Legge are also going to be in
the vicinity in the near future to start work on the Eclectus Parrot as part
of Rob's postdoc.
In May the Australian Prime Minister issued a
press release announcing that a large grant had been given towards the
recovery of the Swiss Parrot Lathamus helvetica. This caused great
excitement in Switzerland as the existence of the species had been completely
overlooked. Nevertheless the money was gratefully stashed away in a Swiss bank
from which it cannot be retrieved for over 50 years, and then only by
application to the international court in the Hague. However this is unlikely
as 50 years hence it is unlikely any descendents of the aforementioned parrot
will still survive. In the same press release money was provided for the
Glossy Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo, presumably to be spread among two species
and 8 subspecies.
Finally, at Lakeland in Queensland, some of the
less threatened Red-tailed Black- Cockatoos hit the news when licenses were
issued for 5 farmers to shoot 30 birds each. The 2000 or so red-tails in the
area have learnt to uproot peanuts, working in from the edge of the crop with
great efficiency. Fortunately the farmers, having received their permits, did
not pursue them vigorously. It appears the farmers managed to shoot no more
than three (and even that is not certain) during the peanut season just past.
All the damage was to one farm where 13 out of 700 acres were destroyed. It
seems likely that the department will recommend that no permits be given next
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