OBP s at Melaleuca

To: "" <>
Subject: OBP s at Melaleuca
From: "Holdsworth, Mark (DPIPWE)" <>
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 19:07:31 +1100
Dear Birding Aus,

In response to David Stowe’s call for more information in regards to Ashwin 
Rudder’s posting “OBPs at Melaleuca” on the 8th, I can reassure everyone that 
there is a feed table at Melaleuca where the public and birders alike can still 
view OBPs. There are at least 21 individuals in the area and at least 8 of 
these are females. Our Wildcare, Friends of the Orange-bellied Parrot 
volunteers are busy recording colour bands and providing high quality seed to 
help boost breeding participation.

Ashwin is correct in saying that the feed table in front of the public 
observatory has been removed. This was done because of increased visitor 
disturbance at this site plus the propensity for Black Currawongs to loiter 
within the vicinity of the feed table in association with the garden/thick 
vegetation. Last year we witnessed some near misses on the OBPs. Other less 
mobile species, such as Beautiful Firetail, may not have been so lucky and it 
was imperative for us to move the table to a more favourable site (i.e. away 
from the high Currawong use area). The temporary public hide (a modified tent) 
and feed table is situated about 1km to the south of the airstrip.

Ashwin is also correct in his observations of Common Starlings. Starlings are 
thankfully uncommon at Melaleuca but often appear after fires in the area, 
probably because foraging is made easier in otherwise dense vegetation. There 
is 2-3 pairs have moved in to Melaleuca following local habitat management 
burns last April. Our department’s crack starling control team are programmed 
to remove these animals next week and we will monitor the situation over summer.

I’ve noticed during several trips to Melaleuca this year that there are more 
birders visiting the site - no doubt to see the species in case it disappears. 
Many people are also attempting to photograph the bird and some have been too 
intrusive - unnecessarily disturbing the birds at the feed table or chasing 
birds in native vegetation. Considering the precarious position that the 
species is in, it is vitally important that everyone takes care in approaching 
birds to minimise disturbance. Visitors are welcome to quietly view the birds 
at the feed table from the hide and allow the birds to do their own thing in 
native veg. With patience, excellent views can be had of this beautiful bird. 
We certainly do not want anyone to set up hides or climb trees. The pilots are 
familiar with the OBPs and our volunteer observers are happy to provide some 

Our work continues and I’m confident that we will have a successful breeding 
season this year. Anyone visiting Melaleuca to observe the OBP might like to 
consider donating to the Wildcare Save the Orange-bellied Parrot Fund 
( Donations of $2 or more are tax 
deductible and all funds will be used to support recovery program.

Let’s hope we can enjoy the OBP in its wilderness home for many years to come.

Mark Holdsworth

Chair, Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Team

phone Aus 03 62 336033
mobile Aus 0419 120 298
fax Aus 03 62 333477

134 Macquarie Street Hobart

GPO Box 44
Tasmania 7001

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