Hi Bob, et. al.,
My guess as to why Robyn asked for personal memories is that
distribution maps are often not terribly accurate. I, too, checked
Slater, and found a wide distribution in Tasmania for Rainbow
Lorikeets. However, Sharland's "Guide to the birds of Tasmania",
from 1981 says they are rare in Tas, and most likely all from Aviary
Escapees. He maintains that the odd pair seen together does not
necessarily imply breeding. BUT, since then, numbers have been
increasing in certain parts of Tas. When we moved here to
Ulverstone, almost a year ago, we were told there had been half a
dozen around for some years. Soon after, we saw 12 in a flock, and
just recently counted 32 (!) feeding in a flowering Eucalypt. I fear
we are going to go down the same path as Perth.
On 16/03/2008, at 10:01 AM, Robert Inglis wrote:
Robyn Charlton asked (Sat, 15 Mar 2008 19:53:58 +1100)
"Just wondering can anyone remember what the range was for Rainbow
back in the 1970's?"
By using the term "range" I assume Robyn means "distribution range"
or that part of Australia where Rainbow Lorikeets are likely to be
Rather than relying on 30 year old memories which, in any case, are
of only a small part of the overall distribution area of Rainbow
Lorikeets, I consulted the 1970 edition of Peter Slater's "A Field
Guide to Australian Birds" and compared the distribution map with
those in the latest Australian bird field Guide (the Peter
Menkhorst edited 2007 version of the Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight
"The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia") and the second Atlas
Of Australian Birds.
Considering that distribution maps are somewhat imprecise, there
appears to be not much difference in the 'range' of this species
(which includes the sub-species Red-collared Lorikeet) between then
and now with the following exceptions:
- Rainbow Lorikeets are now found around the Perth, Western
- the 'range' was much greater in Tasmania in the 1970s than
appears to be the case now.
If the question was intended to be about the abundance levels of
Rainbow Lorikeets (including the Red-collared Lorikeet sub-species)
in the 1970s compared with now, then the answer could be quite
different. I know that the numbers of Rainbow Lorikeets in South
East Queensland are much reduced now compared to those in the
1970s. And I am quite sure that the prime reason for that is the
loss of nesting sites and suitable food due to the land development
deemed necessary for human habitation.
The effects of introduced species (by self- or assisted-
introduction) would have had very little to do with changes in the
'range' or numbers of Rainbow Lorikeets.
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