Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Watch Out for Superb Parrots on the Roads Over Christmas

Things are different Down Under. It's not all beaches, sun, and shrimp on the barbie for Christmas. Here in the northern climes we have to watch out for snow and ice on the roads when we drive over the mountains and through the woods to grandma's house for Christmas dinner. Down Under, not so much. But Aussies do need to watch out for parrots on the roads. Yes, parrots.

This article, in its entirety, appeared on the New Zealand website Foreign Affairs December 18, 2014:

Watch out for Superb Parrots on the roads over Christmas



The New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and local community members are concerned about recent reports of Superb Parrots being killed by vehicles on roads in the Boorowa and Young Shires. The birds were apparently feeding on spilled grain. Grain spillage from trucks is one of the main threats facing the Superb Parrot, a threatened birds. About 15 years ago, a statewide campaign commenced to increase awareness of the issue. This included providing signage at grain silos and weighbridges throughout the NSW wheatbelt where Superb Parrots are known to occur.

This initiative was well supported by local grain growers and most grain trucks now cover their loads, which has reduced roadkill of Superb Parrots and other birds that feed on spilled grain. OEH Threatened Species Team Leader Damon Oliver said he had recently received two reports of dead Superb Parrots at Monteagle and Bendick Murrell. The reports came from members of a community-based Superb Parrot survey program. Dr Oliver also recently saw a dead female Superb Parrot on a road near Murringo. The reports of dead Superb Parrots appear to be connected with grain trucks travelling along country roads in the Boorowa and Young areas. “The birds land to feed and they fill up on grain. Birds are weighed down and have little chance of avoiding being hit by vehicles traveling at high speed,” Dr Oliver said. “Unfortunately, Superb Parrots do not have the same road sense as crows and other birds that often feed on roads and road verges. “With a total population of only about 8000 birds, loss of birds from grain spill is a serious issue.”

Dr Oliver said many farmers in the NSW wheatbelt were aware of the Superb Parrot. He said some were protecting paddock trees and other vegetation the birds used for breeding habitat. “It is very clear that the community cares for the Superb Parrot and is concerned to see birds getting hit on country roads. “If you see a flock of Superb Parrots along a country road please slow down and consider sounding your horn when approaching. We are losing thousands upon thousands of native birds across the country to vehicles and if motorists safely slow down it will assist.”

Drive carefully! And Merry Christmas.
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