Orange-bellied Parrots are making their way back to mainland: will you join us for winter surveys?

For the past six months, Orange-bellied Parrots have been in Melaleuca, Tasmania where they spend summer at their breeding grounds. As the breeding season came to an end, the recent survey report from the Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmania Program indicated “a lower than average number of nests and birds remaining at Melaleuca, despite a record number of birds migrating south in spring. The number of female Orange-bellied parrots observed at Melaleuca declined after the December census, resulting in fewer nesting attempts then hoped. However, the success rate of nesting attempts was high, with up to 60 fledglings produced from 18 attempts.”

It was further reported that: “It’s unknown why a high number of birds were not seen later in the season, and there are many possible explanations. We hope to gain a better understanding from the December 2022 census about whether these birds survived.”

“Although the outcomes this season were mixed, the size of the wild population has steadily improved over the past five years and we know that survival and breeding success for this critically endangered species will vary from year to year. We will continue to build on our knowledge to adapt efforts to help this critically endangered species recover.

With the recent successful release of 50 captive-born juveniles, the remaining adults and this season’s wild-born birds, about 140 Orange-bellied Parrots are expected to migrate north to the mainland for winter. This would be the second-highest departing population size in more than 15 years, exceeded only by last season.”

The first migrants have been sighted on the Bellarine Peninsula, one of which was not sighted at Melaleuca over summer. With this news comes a couple of events in south-west Victoria and our call out for volunteers to help with winter surveys.

An online identification workshop and project update will be held in early May. Please register your interest by emailing Jess here () or calling 0438 671 356.

A second workshop will be held in Port Campbell on Sunday 8th May.

This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins CMA and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Jess Bourchier