Using people??? to find Night Parrots

To: "Philip Veerman" <>
Subject: Using people??? to find Night Parrots
From: Allan Richardson <>
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2012 17:30:02 +1000
Yeah I know Phil - only mentioned the lapwing example, because there were a lot 
of folk that would have liked to respond immediately, but the "drop everything 
and drive out hundreds of km to tick" (highly motivating for many) just isn't 
possible for large numbers of folk. And the lapwing was only just out past the 
outer edge of the western slopes of NSW - a Night Parrot sighting could be much 
further, excepting of course Chris's recent experience.


On 08/06/2012, at 1:16 PM, Philip Veerman wrote:

> Yes all very true (though very long) I would mention though (only because
> you didn't) that a Grey-headed Lapwing is very much more conspicuous than a
> Night Parrot although I am very sure you know that. 
> Philip
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  On Behalf Of Allan
> Richardson
> Sent: Friday, 8 June 2012 11:10 AM
> To: Mike Carter
> Cc: dion hobcroft; birding aus
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Using people??? to find Night Parrots
> Mike I think the approach you guys took up was excellent - the only problem
> was that 20 people is too few, you needed thousands of people working at the
> same time to cover the sort of area required to give you a chance in the
> probability stakes. 
> I think the dog method also has good merit, but falls down because of the
> drop in the ocean principle as well. Both of these strategies and the large
> number of birders strategy have their greatest chance of success if a quick
> response to a sighting could be organised. Therein these plans are likely to
> fall down. Few of the birding community have the ability to drop everything
> for a lengthy trip to a remote location in a coordinated search and you're
> going to need good numbers. An indication of at least some of the commitment
> available is if we cast our minds back to the Grey-headed Lapwing - less
> than 500 birders (correct me if I'm wrong) went out to see the bird, but
> they were strung out over a 3 month period and they were highly motivated
> (it took me 3 months and the only reason I ended up out there was because
> work took me close to the area); remembering though that that was just a
> small percentage from the dedicated birding community (many other dedicated
> birders didn't g  o).
> Everything we've done so far appears to be planning for are relatively small
> almost individual projects for short periods of time, which are up against
> the enormity of habitat area and the constraints of time. Individual effort
> has some merit I think if someone could live out there, picking up clues
> perhaps, as the seasons change and checking the same areas deemed
> potentially suitable over and over again. It's this local knowledge and week
> in week out strategy that allow us to get a handle on what Regents and
> Swifts are doing and the same goes for the wandering habits of pelagic
> birds. We have trouble locating Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters due to
> their nomadic movements in response to resource distribution (regents only
> turn up here in Morisset on a 4-5 year cycle despite what the blossom is
> doing, because the local picture isn't important unless compared to the
> extremities of the species' niche), so it is likely safe to assume that the
> areas you guys checked Mike may 
> have NP's some times, but they just weren't there at the time you were.  I
> know there are other issues, like how tight do NP's sit in their day-time
> roosts? leading to how close do you have pass to a roost before a bird will
> flush? Wouldn't we love to know how close many of us have actually been to a
> bird without knowing it?
> I agree with Jeff that the birds may be more common than they seem to us,
> and I would hazard to guess that there are at least some folk in the
> community who are seeing these birds on a relatively regular basis - drovers
> and outback residents, because they're out there for long periods from year
> to year. Pushing hundreds and sometimes thousands of cattle through Night
> Parrot habitat must flush birds every now and then. Surely an education
> scheme would be valuable here?
> A similar method Mike, in the absence of a starting point (although the
> western Queensland region may be good due to the recoveries of dead birds,
> amongst other possible locations), to what you guys employed might work,
> only on a much larger scale. Plan a large-scale event in different areas
> across the country much as we do for the Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater
> surveys, but take it outside the relatively small pool of folk in the
> birding community. There is no need to have only dedicated birders as long
> as there is a sufficient spattering among the hordes to confirm
> observations, collect data and organise on the ground logistics in each
> area. Setting a time in the future for the event, maybe two or three years
> down the track, would allow folk to plan for a week long event and include
> international interest to be involved as well. The immense nature of areas
> to check and the skulking nature of the species dictate that a large scale
> thorough coverage may be the only way we
>  have any chance of getting fresh information that might allow a more
> predictive approach thereafter. There would be costs associated with the
> organisation and promotion of something of this scale, but a volunteer
> workforce, and volunteer landholder involvement for participant camping
> (some compensation may be in order), would form the backbone of man-power.
> It would certainly be the type of project that could capture the imagination
> of the community and would likely easily attract funding, due to its size.
> In such a venture the dog, camera and other methodologies may be employed to
> greater value particularly if there is any success at all, because these
> resources could be at hand ready for such an occasion where they would be
> used to greatest effect.
> There are perhaps many flaws in such a project, but we've all seen the
> immensity of habitat area out that way and how else do you overcome that
> without a large-scale thorough approach?
> Allan Richardson
> Morisset NSW


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