birding-aus Escapees, Bowerbirds, Princess Parrots

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Subject: birding-aus Escapees, Bowerbirds, Princess Parrots
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 10:54:14 +1000

Re Tony Palliser's interesting questions about escapees, and a subsequent
posting about the excitement of seeing a Princess Parrot.

When we lived in Canberra in the mid-eighties, I stepped out of the house
one morning to find a female Superb Parrot in a tree opposite. Much
excitement and speedy telephone calls to, amongst others, whoever was then
the Bird Recorder for the Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG), of which I
was a relatively new member. Well, the person on the other end of the line
quite reasonably counselled caution, particularly as we were new to the area
I suppose, and particularly warned about aviary escapees. This is where it
does sometimes become frustrating. You want to see the bird in the wild, you
have no reason to suspect that it is anything other than a wild bird - but
what if it isn't? With no leg bands, and short of actually saying "Scratch
Cockie" it's hard to pick an aviary escapee from a free living bird towards
the edge of it's range.

It would also have been a new bird for me at the time, which made the whole
thing doubly frustrating - but, if in doubt, leave it out. So I did.

However, just a few months later, on my way home from work, in the same
general area of town, as I crossed a small bridge, there in a row of
creekside trees were about 30 Superb Parrots, male and female, carrying on
marvellously, and once I got the glasses on them really taking my breath
Only one thing I could do - I rang the same fellow at COG to tell him there
had been a mass breakout!

This was all taken in good part at the time, and I do most certainly agree
that any unusual bird apparently out of it's usual niche must always be
treated with caution.

On the other hand we had a shock here at "Abberton" a couple of years back
when I saw a very distinctive Black Honeyeater in the garden way way way
east of where it belongs, so much so that I actually felt embarrassed at
spreading the word about something apparently so ludicrously out of range,
worried in case no-one else turned it up, and questions might quietly begin
to be asked about me by those who doubted the bird. Thank goodness the next
few days saw several other sightings in the immediate vicinity.
Incidentally, that day also brought to "Abberton" three species of
woodswallow which in more than ten years, like the Black Honeyeater, have
been recorded here only on that one day. Clearly a reflex to some stimulus
way out west.

Bill Jolly
"Abberton", Helidon, Qld

ph  07 46976111
fax 07 46976056

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