Rainbow Lorikeets

To: "'Perkins, Harvey'" <>, <>
Subject: Rainbow Lorikeets
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 23:15:42 +1100
That is a curious suggestion Harvey. I wonder why you should think the two species should follow the same trend. I wouldn't know if you are right or partly right or whatever. Although you are saying they don't and suggest the difference as due to releases. Is there much difference in the rate of captivity / release / escape between the two species? I don't know. I've seen both in captivity. All it would take is for the Rainbow Lorikeet to have more of a tendency to stay when conditions are good than the Musk Lorikeet and that alone could create a difference between the population trends between the two. I do agree with your last sentence.
I believe the increase in the Rainbow Lorikeet in Melbourne followed a few years behind a similar but less dramatic increase in the Musk Lorikeets in Melbourne. But that is based on my impressions, rather than number evidence. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Perkins, Harvey [
Sent: Tuesday, 21 December 2010 4:12 PM
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Rainbow Lorikeets? [SEC=UNOFFICIAL]

further musing on the occurrence of Rainbow Lorikeets in Canberra...
I would have expected that the natural incidence of Rainbow Lorikeets in the Canberra region would be at about the same level as the natural incidence of Musk Lorikeets. As Canberra is marginal to the main (coastal) distribution of both species, birds occurring here naturally would likely be birds moving about (ie west, as Tonya inferred) due to either local/regional seasonal flowering or population pressure movements. These birds are likely, for the most part, to occur in small numbers and stay for only brief periods of time.
Musk Lorikeets are quite scarce in Canberra, so to my mind, the most likely explanation for the recent establishment of the small local population of Rainbow Lorikeets is that it evolved from a small nucleus of non-naturally occurring birds, either released (eg Tidbinbilla releases) or aviary escaped birds, or both, which with the assistance of artificial feeding managed to survive Canberra winters. From there the population is slowly increasing, and slowly spreading, perhaps with the occasional incorporation of further escaped birds and possibly wild nomadic birds originating from outside the region. 
If this is the case I would anticipate the population would continue to grow, albeit slowly. Increased availability of food from cultivated year-round flowering garden plants and artificial feeding, and the impacts of climate change, would assist this growth.
Harvey Perkins
CRC Selection Rounds Section

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

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