Orange-bellied Parrot and specific winter feeding grounds

To: Glenn Ehmke <>
Subject: Orange-bellied Parrot and specific winter feeding grounds
From: "Donald G. Kimball" <>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2011 20:57:19 -0700
Glenn et al

It appears to me a couple of things might assist.  Ramped up artificial
feeding stations in wintering grounds and of course an aggressive purchasing
committee and financial resources to purchase important wintering areas once
determined.  I do see a major problem with training/encouraging birds to use
specific areas to feed on natural food sources when they are depending on
sporadic seed crops of various plants.  I am hoping and praying much more in
the way of resources get directed to this species as the days go by.



On Sun, Oct 23, 2011 at 6:27 PM, Glenn Ehmke <>wrote:

> Interesting thoughts Don, I never cease to be amazed by the site fidelity
> of migratory birds!
> Reading OBP bands certainly is difficult on the mainland! Takes much
> dedication and lots of time - many days sometimes.
> A number of dedicated volunteers (and some staff when there’s money to
> employ people) do it though and from the bands we have recorded we do know
> that OBPs can certainly be very highly site faithful. A number of birds
> observed at the Western Treatment Plant have returned to the exact same
> patch (a mere few hectares or so) year after year (5 years in one
> individuals case; see
> ).
> So yes they so use specific sites; but that’s only half the story. OBPs are
> basically nomads (when wintering) their preferred habitats are highly patchy
> spatially and temporally (i.e. when they seed). They may stay at one site
> for a month or maybe a bit longer, but often they are often at a given spot
> only for a matter of days before they move onto another, then another etc.
> How many sites a given bird needs in a year we don’t know, but we’ve never
> identified the same banded bird at more than 1 wintering site in a given
> year (I think…). They clearly need multiple sites during the course of their
> wintering period.
> There’s actually not a lot really good habitat around given how highly
> specialised they (
> particularly not in recent years with the almost total loss of the western
> quarter of their range in the Coorong and Lower Lakes.
> To me training them is not really the answer, they are probably very good
> at finding suitable habitat themselves, we just need to provide them with
> enough to find. How much is the huge question, we have good habitat models
> now which is a good start, but it’s still a big question given temporal
> variability - just like it is for blossom nomads e.g. Swift Parrots.
> Feeding stations have been used on the mainland, but that’s been mainly to
> get the birds in a position where we can read bands, unlikely it would have
> a behavioural effect I reckon.
> Interesting to know about the Cranes. Managing just where a bird goes and
> not the rest of it’s range is a gamble though. In the mid-1990s OBPs up and
> left many of their traditionally important sites, in some cases sites where
> 20-40 bird flocks had been common were abandoned within a few years! (see
> Wingspan Sept 2008 p18-23). With climate change of course it’s probable that
> will happen with many habitat specialists.
> There’s a project just underway to look at that broadly - “Adaptation
> strategies for Australian birds” .
> ------------------------------
> *From:* Peter Shute <>
> *To:* "" <>; "'
> " <>
> *Sent:* Saturday, 22 October 2011 7:21 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [Birding-Aus] Orange-bellied Parrot and specific winter
> feeding grounds
> They seem to frequent the same areas each year, those that are found, but
> I've no idea if they're the same individuals.
> They're so strewn along the coast that most are unaccounted for. Unlike a
> bird the size of a crane, they're a bit hard to find, and even harder to
> identify individuals.
> I think feeding stations are being tried, but I have no idea how
> successfully.
> Peter Shute
> --------------------------
> Sent using BlackBerry

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