Spotting Orange-bellied Parrots: Volunteers glimpse first sighting in Anderson Inlet in 18 years!

Orange-bellied Parrots (OBPs) have made their way to their winter feeding grounds on the mainland. Each year in autumn the critically endangered species migrates from their summer breeding grounds at Melaleuca, Tasmania, to the mainland where they feed over the winter. In 2017, the species was on the brink of extinction, with fewer than five females remaining in the wild. Last year a record 74 wild birds returned to Tasmania for breeding, with captive-bred birds helping to bolster the population. It seems the species is making a comeback, but is still in a tenuous position.

So, if you live in OBP country (between Gippsland in Victoria to the Murray River Mouth in SA). it’s time to grab your camera and keep your eyes and ears peeled!

Over the recent long weekend, the first confirmed sighting for the season was reported on the Bellarine Peninsula. A second unconfirmed sighting has been reported in the South East of SA on the same weekend.

Each year an identification workshop is held in south-western Victoria for volunteers who would like to be involved in the search for the birds. Over the past couple of years, these workshops have been held online, with attendees tuning in from all over the OBP’s mainland range. For three attendees from Gippsland, the hour spent at the workshop really paid off! In early October, 2022 they reported a sighting of three OBPs near Anderson Inlet. This was the first reporting in that area for 18 years! The volunteers were lucky enough to watch the birds feeding every morning for about three weeks, before they made the flight back to Melaleuca.

How you can get involved:

If you would like to be involved in the search for OBPs please get in touch with Jess here or on 0438 671 356. This year could be your year to report a sighting!

This year’s identification workshop will be held on Sunday 7th May in Koroit, outside of Warnambool, Victoria, but will also be recorded for those who can’t attend in person. See flyer below for further details.And official winter survey dates to put in your diary are:

  • May 20 & 21

  • July 23 & 24

  • September 9 & 10

Volunteers are encouraged to search for OBPs at any time between now and October.

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.

What else is happening in the region? Check out this great little video (below) about another OBP recovery project, by Corangamite CMA.

Jess Bourchier