OBP Mainland Release Trial Program, May Update
In case you missed the update on the OBP mainland release. You can read the May press release below.
Lovebirds at Western Treatment Plant: Orange-bellied Parrots reunite
(DELWP Media release 17th May)
Four months after welcoming three baby chicks in Tasmania, two Orange-bellied Parrots have completed a journey of more than 500 kilometres to reunite at Werribee’s Western Treatment Plant.
The birds have joined a flock of Orange-bellied Parrots which were released from captivity last month, as part of project to save the species from extinction.
With only around 50 Orange-bellied Parrots left in the wild, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and Zoos Victoria are aiming to boost the critically endangered population.
DELWP Project Manager Rachel Pritchard said: “It’s very exciting to see the project’s first Orange-bellied Parrot couple reunite, with just days separating the birds’ arrivals at this ideal habitat.
“Orange-bellied Parrots are a migratory species, and each year spend summer in their Tasmanian breeding grounds, and autumn and winter feeding in coastal Victoria and South Australia.
“Weighing less than 50 grams each, these two have spent the last couple of months travelling along Tasmania’s west coast and across the rough oceans of Bass Strait to find their way back to this site and each other.
“With so few Orange-bellied Parrots left in the wild, each and every parrot that makes the journey over Bass Strait is significant, and keeps hopes of the species’ survival alive. “We think these two parrots, known as Blue Orange C and Red Red R, met last winter at the Western Treatment Plant.
While Blue Orange C has been a regular at this site for years, we believe Red Red R was attracted by the Orange-bellied Parrots released here last year. “Their arrival marks the start of Orange-bellied Parrots returning to Victorian coasts for the autumn and winter.
The project team is hoping that these new parrots and the recently released parrots will draw more wild Orange-bellied Parrots to the area in the weeks to come. “Land in and around the Western Treatment Plant is a well-known bird-sanctuary, and perfect for Orange-bellied Parrots as it provides a wide and plentiful range of food plants.
“Spending time here, and having the benefit of living within a flock, will provide wild Orange-bellied Parrots with the best chance of returning to Tasmania for the summer breeding season.” DELWP, Zoos Victoria, BirdLife Australia, Melbourne Water, Moonlit Sanctuary, Parks Victoria and the Tasmanian Government are partnering to deliver the Mainland Release Trial, with the hope of once again having flocks of Orange-bellied Parrots in Victorian coastal habitats.
The Victorian Government is providing project funding of $200,000, as part of a national program aiming to safeguard the future of the Orange-bellied Parrot. The Mainland Release Trial began in 2017, releasing flocks of Orange-bellied Parrots into ideal habitat, in a bid to have these flocks act as a beacon to attract naturally migrating birds.
Photo: Andrew Silcocks