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Flocking to save the Superb Parrot

Superb Parrot. Image copyright Helen Fallow

In a bid to curb diminishing populations of the resplendent Superb Parrot, our new project will engage farmers across south-east NSW to create critical new homes and food sources for the birds.

Through our Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR) program, the new project will assist farmers by restoring cleared land on their properties for Superb Parrots, whilst increasing farm productivity and providing shade and shelter for cows and sheep.

Flocks of the enigmatic, emerald green parrot were once common across south-eastern NSW but over the past 100 years, populations have diminished rapidly.

Habitat loss has been a key cause, with feeding sources and old, hollow-bearing trees, which the parrots rely on for nesting, disappearing from many parts of the rural landscape.

Remaining hollows face stiff competition with many other more aggressive species like starlings, rosellas, possums and bats competing for nesting space.

“At landscape-scale, species like wattles and hopbush have largely disappeared from our rural areas. Those that remain mostly occur in small isolated pockets on hilltops, along roadsides or as revegetated corridors on farms. Our project is focused on large-scale revegetation to re-establish these high protein food sources for the parrots while creating the next generation of hollow-bearing trees,” said Graham Fifield, Greening Australia Project Manager.

“Superb Parrots are in trouble but thankfully they respond relatively quickly to simple, straightforward on-ground actions. A paddock that only had two or three old isolated trees before we started restoring it was alive with the sound of woodland birds just five years after direct seeding. Best of all, there was a flock of Superb Parrots feeding on the wattle seeds and sheep happily grazing between the trees. It’s a win-win and that is why the WOPR model has been so successful.”

“The Superb Parrot is a charismatic and attractive species that people can relate to. Not only should we be protecting them for their own sake but if these beautiful birds can be used to start the dialogue with farmers, it will benefit a whole range of other threatened woodland bird species too such as the Scarlet Robin, Brown Treecreeper and Diamond Firetail.”

The new project will build on the considerable momentum of a series of other projects to protect and restore habitat that Greening Australia has already undertaken in the local area as part of Great Southern Landscapes.

“With the support of local farmers, we have created a much more functional landscape than it was 25 years ago and we look forward to expanding and building on that solid legacy of work.”

The work forms part of the Saving our Superb Parrot project funded through the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program, a collaborative partnership between Greening Australia, five local Landcare groups, Cowra Woodland Birds Group, OEH and NPWS. The partnership will protect and restore habitat for the parrots on private land, national parks and reserves across regional south-east NSW.

If you are a landholder in the Southern Tablelands of NSW who would like to work with us to restore habitat for Superb Parrots, please contact Graham Fifield on (02) 6253 3035 or [email protected].