Golden-shouldered Parrot

Subject: Golden-shouldered Parrot
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 10:38:50 +1000

The following unusual observation may be of interest to BirdingAus readers.

On 8th May 2001, while on a tour with Klaus Uhlenhut , we staked out a nesting
site of a pair of GSP. The nest (a hollowed out shallow tunnel in the centre of
a 1.7 metre high termite mound) contained very young chicks and was on a
property near Musgrave N.Qld. There were only three of us (Klaus, Denise Moore
and myself) so we settled down to wait the arrival of the parent birds.

At 8.50am, we got our first sighting of the nesting pair. The pair perched side
by side on top of the termite mound. A perfect "picture-book" pose - if only I
had my camera!   We had amazing views through our scopes. The parrots showed no
sign of nervousness at our presence.

The male entered the nest hole first, fed the chicks then flew to a nearby
branch. The female then had her turn at feeding the chicks. After the feeding,
the pair stayed only for less than a minute before flying off to gather more
food. The time was 9.05am.

We decided to wait for the next feeding session to get another view of a bird
Denise & I may never see again in a long while. We figured the birds should
return within 30-45 minutes. The wait was a bit longer as it turned out, with
the pair returning at 10.20am ( a lapsed period of 1 hour 15 minutes).

When the pair arrived this time they were very agitated. They flew from tree to
tree calling often and loudly. At first we thought our presence had somehow
disturbed them. But then we noticed a second adult male had joined the pair and
was obviously not welcomed by the nesting pair. After about  20 minutes of
restless to-ing and fro-ing the pair eventually fed the chicks in turn (male
first, female second) although the intruder male kept trying to interfere with
this process. After the feeding was completed, the pair and the extra male
stayed in the area for another minute or so before flying away at 10.45am.

What we witnessed was either:
-an adult intruder male trying to take over the territory and mate up with the
female, or
-the intruder may have been a 1st year male offspring of the nesting pair and
was still hanging on to the "apron-strings".

Whatever the answer, this was an interesting and most intriguing observation of
bird behaviour.


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