As the current chair of the OBP National Recovery Team I have followed with
interest the thread about whether it was appropriate to post details of OBP
sightings on birding-aus.
Twelve months ago we received evidence of worrying levels of disturbance of
OBPs at the Western Treatment Plant by bird watchers and bird photographers.
In response, the recovery team asked the land manager, Melbourne Water, to
place signs asking that birders refrain from approaching the shoreline or
roosting shrubs so that the OBPs could feed and loaf in peace. We also
sought the closure of a short length of track to vehicles and foot traffic.
At the same time we asked Eremaea Birds to not publicise the localities of
OBP sightings. Unfortunately, we did not make the same request of
birding-aus, an oversight on my behalf. Of course, these were requests for
voluntary cooperation and relied on the good faith of birders.
When 4 birds turned up again this year the same restrictions were enacted,
with the full support of Melb Water, Birdlife Australia and Eremaea Birds. I
now ask birding-aus members to desist from publicising precise localities of
Whether or not these restrictions are actually helpful to the parrots is
unknown, however, they were put in place as a risk management exercise that
seemed to us to have little cost and high potential for benefit. They are
supported by all appropriate authorities (DEPI, Melb Water, Birdlife
Australia and the recovery team) and I simply ask that all birders support
them. They do not prevent birders from viewing OBPs from an appropriate
distance. Just remember that you may be looking at almost 10% of the world
By the way, the habitat they are using is man-made and is carefully and
intensively managed by Melbourne Water - we are currently drawing down the
water level a little to create more edge and expose more samphire feeding
Birders are very privileged to be allowed to visit this site and I ask that
everybody please take care not to disturb the OBPs.
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