birding-aus Bourke's Parrot, and the escapee dilemma

To: "'Birding-Aus'" <>
Subject: birding-aus Bourke's Parrot, and the escapee dilemma
From: "Atzeni, Michael" <>
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1999 15:04:20 +1000

Mark and Birding-Aussers

I had a similar experience back in the 80's.  A group of us had spent a few
days camping in the Eulo area in southwest QLD.  We saw Bourke's Parrot
there, but if we hadn't, it would have been quite ironic because, on
arriving home in Toowoomba (southeast QLD), there was one feeding in the
front yard -  very tame, and obviously an escapee, and not seen thereafter.

But what about the "untame" one reported to me from an Oakey resident (on
the Darling Downs just west of Toowoomba) a couple of years ago near the end
of the drought?   Most probably an escapee, but if we believe a Spotted
Bowerbird opted for a sea change and bee-lined to North Stradbroke Island,
then a wild Bourke's Parrot driven a few hundred kms east by adverse
conditions is not too hard to swallow.

For such sightings, particularly of single birds (or even a couple), it's a
tough call as to whether they're wild or aviary escapees.  Since there are
aviaries throughout Australia,  I am often suspicious about reports of rarer
species within their natural range, too.  For example, if memory serves me
correctly, someone reported a single Scarlet-chested Parrot in an odd part
of the NT recently, and I wondered how normal that was, and why it couldn't
have been an aviary escapee.   Another example - around Toowoomba, we get
the odd report of one or two Turquoise Parrots, but never a flock, and
usually close enough to settled areas to make you wonder.  

I'm interested to know the "rules of thumb" applied by Rarities Committees
to such sightings?   If "untame" and within range, do they get the benefit
of the doubt?

Michael Atzeni

 Phone +61 7 4688 1318      Fax    +61 7 4688 1192

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Sanders [SMTP:
> Sent: Monday, 22 March 1999 10:11
> To:   
> Subject:      birding-aus Escapees
>  two years ago i headed out for the day only to find a Bourke's 
> Parrot feeding in my front yard. I never saw it again.
> Mark Sanders
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