Night Parrots - where to from here? Conservation biology?

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Night Parrots - where to from here? Conservation biology?
From: robert morris <>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2013 00:58:15 +0000
It is great
that someone has now found Night Parrots somewhere in SW Queensland. John
obviously did a great job in tracking them down. I do not know John but I have
heard he is a very skilled field ornithologist / naturalist.

Is it a surprise that there are
Night Parrots in SW Queensland?  I would
suggest – no – not at all. With the past records of dead birds (particularly
the immature in Diamantina National Park in 2006) and the rains that the area
has experienced on and off since 2007 – their presence here was almost a
certainty as far as I am concerned. It just took someone with the skill, time
and money to find them.

But what now? Where from here? To
me this find, the photographs, the recordings and the enthusiasm will be almost
irrelevant unless something comprehensive and well thought out is now
implemented. We now have an opportunity to learn and apply the principles of
conservation biology to a species which is endangered, possibly even critically

If everything is now kept a quiet secret and nothing is done – it is not only a 
wasted find, it is not doing the
right thing from a conservation perspective for the birds themselves - NIGHT
PARROTS. They clearly need help (as a species not necessarily these 

Now I do not know what will
happen and who will be told. I should add that I agree that the site should be
kept secret from the general public and I for one would be happy never knowing
where they are. However the finders need to act on this and engage the right
conservation bodies and State and Federal departments to:


1). Look at the short, medium and long term
protection of the habitat and bio-region, its tenure, security etc..

2). Assess the habitat
requirements of the Night Parrots.

3). Look at feral pest levels
in the region and the wider area; cats, dogs, foxes etc. and look at control
programmes if possible.

4). Look at the habitat and how it
has been managed and the treats it faces – grazing, drought, fire etc. 

5). Establish through comprehensive survey the population, and monitor the 
population (using
calls!) in this area;

6). Use the calls to survey other
similar habitats (as identified from habitat research on where the birds are
now) in adjacent and other areas (both by listening and doing play back).

7). If possible, do some applied
conservation research on the species once we get a handle on population size. 


I could go on – but as an
ecologist I feel it is essential that we shouldn't lose this opportunity. I
have heard comments like “John is securing the area and protecting the area”.
Well – that is great. However, I feel that something more coordinated and
applied needs to happen to try and secure this birds future. If that happens –
then John will be a true hero. Time will tell.
Rob Morris 


Brisbane, Australia 

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