These are encouraging numbers, especially given that our volunteer Winter Surveys had to be cancelled in Victoria (the Winter Survey in South Australia was not cancelled but modified to follow COVID-19 restrictions there; however, no OBPs were sighted). The Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster; OBP) is one of Australia’s most critically endangered species. Orange-bellied Parrots breed in south-west Tasmania in the summer, and migrate to the coast of south-east mainland Australia for the winter. core area occupied by our released bird flock, interacting with four of the released birds. This breeding season, ANU and DPIPWE have recorded many food plants seeding and OBPs regularly foraging in the burnt habitat. Orange-bellied Parrots breed in Tasmania then migrate to the southern coast of mainland Australia, as far west as Yorke Penisula in South Australia, and east in Victoria to Westernport Bay. behaviours needed for success. Prajwalkm/ Wikimedia Commons 9. or The OBP Recovery Team (OBPRT) is therefore cautiously optimistic about the number of OBPs that will return to Melaleuca in spring 2020. and are continuing to monitor their health status. all three release sites, while also scanning areas previously searched. We welcome sightings of OBPs in the area to be reported to OBP.Release@delwp.vic.gov.au. DELWP and Zoos Victoria are currently leading the Orange-bellied Parrot Mainland Release Trial, with the support of BirdLife Australia, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria, Adelaide Zoo and the Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program. Open: 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday. Phone: 03 5172 2111 We will be keeping our eyes out for any other new arrivals in the coming days and weeks. the best suite of actions to help avoid extinction in the wild. The Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service implemented a controlled burn at Melaleuca in 2017 to specifically increase OBP food plant abundance and productivity. Naturally migrating juveniles new to the area have also found and joined our established flock. We ask that anyone permitted to visit the birdwatching areas of the WTP please respect the need to Orange-bellied parrots, which traditionally breed in Tasmania before migrating to Victoria for winter, are critically endangered – the last step before extinction. This trial is seeking to establish whether flocks of Orange-bellied Parrots can be established in suitable mainland habitats during autumn and winter, and whether these flocks provide benefits to birds naturally migrating to Victoria from Tasmania. breeding site. The Studies at Melaleuca conducted by the Australian National University (ANU) and DPIPWE have shown that wild pairs will foster captive-bred nestlings and vice versa if wild nestlings need rescuing (Stojanovic et al. It has been reported in the media that the Critically Endangered population of Orange-bellied Parrots has been infected by an outbreak of a potentially fatal disease known as Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD). Helping birds like Silver Silver C find winter habitat on their first migration is the primary aim of the Mainland Release Project. “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. juveniles, helping them learn about mainland habitats. of release. The first year of the DELWP and Zoos Victoria led Orange-bellied Parrot Mainland Release Trial Unfortunately, a flock failed to establish at the Snake Island release site. Open: 8.30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, Address: 1-7 Taylor St, Epsom 3551 These nesting attempts produced at least 37 fledglings that had the highest body condition recorded since 2013. This unique species breeds in remote south-west Tasmania and migrates to the Australian mainland coast for winter. The captive-bred Orange-bellied Parrots that were released at Werribee in April are still doing well, as are the wild birds that they have flocked with. Address: 30-38 Little Malop St, Geelong 3220, Address: 71 Hotham Street, Traralgon 3844, Victorian Memorandum for Health and Nature, Iconic Species Projects: $2 million – 2016/17, Biodiversity Response Planning Phase 1 Projects, NaturePrint and Strategic Management Prospects (SMP), Biodiversity information and site assessment, Offsets for the removal of native vegetation, I want to establish a third party offset site, Planning for native vegetation and biodiversity, Native Vegetation Information Management (NVIM), Review of the native vegetation clearing regulations, Victoria's Framework for Conserving Threatened Species, Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act Threatened List, Nominating items for the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Threatened List, Threatened Species and Communities Risk Assessment, Environment Protection Amendment Act 2018, Managing combustible recyclable and waste materials. There is estimated to be only 50 birds remaining in the wild, with only a few hundred living in captivity. 1 February 2011 Victoria, with the hope of once again having flocks of OBPs in our coastal habitats. Observations confirm these birds are learning to use their new environments and feed naturally. the area have not been seen since March, but we hope they remain in the area and will join this at three sites for the 2019 Mainland Release Trial. This is Silver Silver C – a young wild Orange-bellied Parrot who joined our flock of released captive-bred birds over winter 2019 – and has just completed her first journey from Victoria to Tasmania. culture and traditional practices. This brought the number of juveniles at Melaleuca close to historic sightings of 100 juveniles in late summer. So, in 2011, 21 young birds were taken from nests and transferred into the captive population. may greatly increase search efficiency and improve our chances of detecting missing birds. Find further information about our office locations. All birds have a prominent two-toned blue fr… It’s now four weeks since we released 11 OBPs at the Western Treatment Plant. Address: 8 Nicholson St, Melbourne 3000 fostered into a wild nest. Despite this, the data that were obtained revealed the potential for this technology to enhance monitoring of OBPs. The 4-year Mainland Release Trial Program is seeking to release small flocks of OBPs into suitable day one have been completely self-reliant, choosing wild foods over the supplementary food that Signals from transmitters attached to the released birds are finally fading (due to the battery life expiring) so the field crew are back to old-fashioned wandering around likely habitats to catch sight of them. BirdLife Australia is dedicated to creating a bright future for Australia’s birds. In this way, recalling would enhance monitoring and reduce dispersal immediately after release. This funding is supporting the four-year Mainland Release Trial, which is being undertaken as a partnership between DELWP and Zoos Victoria. One wild adult bird has also tested positive to PBFD. Australian parakeet nearing extinction. their unique ability to care for Country and deep spiritual This is exactly what we were hoping for. Find out the latest news on the OBP captive breeding program, We are the Australian partner of BirdLife International, Key Biodiversity Areas: Nature's Hotspots, 2019 BirdLife Photography Biennial Conference, Orange-Bellied Parrot ID Workshop and Field Walk. We have also been on the lookout for any wild To maximise the chance of locating missing birds we are continuing to search new areas around The birds have generally remained within 500m of the release site, however some have been detected up to 2km away at times. Half of the OBPs were released at the Spit Nature Conservation Reserve near Werribee in west Port Phillip Bay, and the  other half were released at a site near the North Western Port Bay Nature Conservation Reserve and Pearcedale. 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. Non-breeding season survival of captive-bred adults released in the breeding range in spring is also low. ... a process known as 'ranching'. At Melaleuca, the Australian National University (ANU) and Tasmania’s Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) have been monitoring OBP food plant regeneration and OBP activity in recently burnt habitat. Occasionally the Orange-bellied Parrot is seen out of this range, including a sighting in Sydney in 2004. Come along to learn about the recovery program and searches for this iconic species in our coastal region. This pair included Matilda, the first captive OBP chick successfully 12 February 2013 Given OBPs are a social species, the OBPRT hopes that a relatively large group will improve overall survival during migration and the non-breeding season. 2020a), habitat burning promotes the growth of food plants and natural foraging behaviours in OBPs (Stojanovic et al. However, by July this group was more mobile, and left the surveyed area. The results of the Mainland Release Trial Program will be compared with the results of other current Five of these birds continue to be sighted regularly in the area surrounding the release In short, they are displaying many of the critical wild Last year, the OBPRT participated in a recent structured decision-making process in partnership with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) which highlighted the likely cost-effectiveness of larger juvenile releases compared to other possible strategies. “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. 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. Only four birds returned to the site in late August (two from the initial release, one from the second release and the one 2018 released males). Want to know all about our native birds? 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. Since 2017, DELWP have been working with Zoos Victoria to release captive-bred birds into suitable habitat near Werribee, in a bid to attract wild birds and give them a better chance of survival. Download your copy at the bottom of the page. knowledge and wisdom has ensured the continuation of connection to it. release birds have continued to reveal the extent of their adaptability to life in the wild and from Troy S, Hehn K (2019) Report on the Melaleuca wild population 2018/19, Tasmanian Orange-bellied Parrot Program. This innovative project is designed to boost the wild population of the critically endangered species. The timing and nature of any reintroduction will be informed by an ongoing review of the progress of the captive insurance population, the lessons learnt from previous release programs for this species, and the experiences of other species reintroduction programs. Using Facebook and Twitter, the community of Orange-bellied Parrot stakeholders has expanded exponentially. These OBPs responded well to recalling before release. Come migration time, we expect the wild Orange-bellied Parrots will return to Tasmania - and we have fingers crossed that the released birds will follow them home! Further, examination of nestling crops confirmed that some nestlings were being fed local wild seeds in addition to the seeds provided at feed tables. Researchers from the Australian National University have surveyed vegetation in the burn area every six months. DPIPWE recorded 20 OBP nests this season, attended by both wild- and captive-bred parents, including those that were released after being ranched or head-started (i.e., temporarily held in captivity to increase annual survival) over previous winters. A collaboration among ANU, DPIPWE, DELWP, La Trobe University, The Analytical Edge Statistical Consulting, and Eco Insights confirmed the Recovery Team’s observations that annual survival in adult OBPs was relatively stable, but had decreased in juvenile OBPs between 1995 and 2017 (Stojanovic et al. Their breeding range has declined significantly, and breeding is now only known to occur at Melaleuca in south-west Tasmania. As the birds have not eaten any of the offered supplementary food, and the wild foods they Captive breeding programs have been successful and there is a national captive insurance population of around 400 birds, spread across multiple institutions and states. She was first spotted in an area frequented by the released birds and today the field team made the very exciting observation of her flying and feeding with two of our released males. Details of Orange-bellied Parrot sightings around the Werribee and Avalon areas can be sent to: OBP.Release@delwp.vic.gov.au, More details can be found here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsUDoTfvhjc. 26 July 2012 In both cases the bodies had The Mainland Release Team are excited to share the news that an extra bird joined one of our flocks over the long weekend. You may have had the briefest glimpse or heard a snatch of its song, or perhaps it was a bird you have never seen before. This female has overwintered at the Western Treatment Plant With stunning images of featured species and some recordings of their songs and calls, you are sure to find that mystery bird, or learn more about species you already know. Throughout the past decade, the number of individuals that have returned to their last known breeding location, Melaleuca, in the far southwest of Tasmania has ranged between only 17 and 35 individuals. Phone: 03 5336 6856 To help us monitor these and any other birds Open: Not open to the public, Address: 30-38 Little Malop St, Geelong 3220 The actions of the OBP Recovery Team are funded by the organisations within the partnership as well as through government and non-government grants, fund-raising activities, and individual and corporate donations. However, the birds are frequenting areas where wild OBPs usually forage at this time of year, and we have observed them feeding on known OBP food plants including glaucous goosefoot, rush and twiggy turnip. In the recent breeding season, this population produced around 200 fledglings, some of which were released to the wild. “Their arrival marks the start of Orange-bellied Parrots returning to Victorian coasts for the autumn and winter. The 2019 Orange-bellied Parrot Mainland Release is underway, following the release of around 20 of the critically endangered birds near Werribee and Avalon this week. Interestingly, none of the birds have been detected (by the camera traps) returning to eat any of the supplementary food we have continued to offer them since their release. A: Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD) is a virus that causes abnormalities in the beaks and feathers of parrots. 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. 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. A stable flock of 10 birds established, that remain in the area over winter. But these were not the only OBPs buzzing around Victoria: another 26 OBPs were released at two locations in the fourth year of the Mainland Release Trial. BirdLife Australia has a long and proud history of excellence in publishing. All other meetings, including those of the subgroups and working groups, will be held online as well. In particular, the attraction of four juvenile natural migrants is exciting, as the central aims of this project are to help juvenile birds find suitable winter habitat in their first year of migration, provide them with a flock to overwinter with, and thereby improve their chances of returning to Melaleuca for their first breeding season. Moonlit Sanctuary, and the first bird to be part of a new ‘aided migration’ trial for the species. various mixed social group formations. Several years of conservation research on OBPs by Recovery Team members culminated in several publications this quarter. The role of the Team is to coordinate recovery activities, provide advice to conservation managers and review progress of Recovery Plan implementation to maximise the effectiveness of recovery program. First, based on observation made by volunteers working for the Tasmanian Government’s OBP Tasmanian Program, 23 OBPs are confirmed to have returned to the breeding site this year; and, for the first time in five years, more than half of these birds are females. The 2019 Orange-bellied Parrot Mainland Release is underway, following the release of around 20 of the critically endangered birds near Werribee and Avalon this week. On 7 May, our field team confirmed the arrival of two juvenile OBPs in another area of the engage, with Victoria’s Traditional Owners and Aboriginal We will continue to monitor the released birds, to learn more about how these birds fare program and Zoos Victoria. Overall, hope these flocks will flow on to provide survival benefits for those wild birds as well. Photo: Feral cats prey on endangered native wildlife like the mountain-pygmy possum, helmeted honeyeater, orange-bellied parrot … broader aspirations in the 21st century and beyond. Among the 34 OBPs added to the population, nine (males) were released, three (females) were ranched, 18 (six males and 12 females) were head-started, and four (two males and two females) were head-started-and-ranched. birds. There will be a lot of fingers being crossed in The Orange-bellied Parrot is a migratory species, and each year makes a round trip of more than 1,000 kilometres between south-west Tasmania and mainland Australia, covering the rough oceans of the Bass Strait. The species faces numerous interacting threats, including the genetic, health and social impacts of a very small wild population and habitat decline in both breeding and wintering locations. Explore, learn, discover and enjoy Australia’s most comprehensive bird resource. The last sighting of an individual from this release group was in early May. Seventeen males and 17 females, which can be further divided into four groups, specifically: 1) captive-bred released; 2) ranched; 3) head-started; and 4) head-started-and-ranched. Only a little bigger than a Budgerigar, the OBP has bright blue, green and yellow plumage and, of course, a distinctive orange belly on adult males. We are continuing to collect information on their movement patterns, habitat use, foraging behaviours and social groupings. It is hoped that this technology will ultimately help us to better understand migration pathways, habitat use and causes of mortality in wild OBPs. Males are bright green, yellow and blue with a prominent orange belly. By the end of the 2013/14 breeding season the wild population of Orange-bellied Parrots is considered to comprises approx. migrants was found deceased, and this was confirmed to have resulted from acute It was described by John Latham in 1790. Presently, three major activities have been impacted. Our members' magazine, journals, newsletters, and reports are all world-class. The third and final group were released at the Avalon Coastal Reserve and included captivebred Four Orange-bellied Parrots currently being monitored at Melbourne’s Western Treatment Plant appear to be in good health. It’s now been just over four weeks since the first Orange-bellied Parrots (OBPs) were released Historically the decline was probably influenced most strongly by habitat loss and degradation in the non-breeding range, and changes to fire management practices in the breeding range. 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