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Swift parrot breeding locations 2014-5

29/10/2014

Swift parrot distribution varies each year, depending on the distribution of blue gum - and to a lesser extent, black gum - flower (on which they feed), and how near this is to available tree hollows (in which they raise young). Flowering is in itself highly unpredictable. The annual swift parrot surveys can help guide planners to minimise risks of their activities impacting on swift parrots.

So far, surveys this year have found particularly low levels of flower among blue and black gums. This may mean that part of the swift parrot population fails to breed; instead of nesting at one site, they may move around the state throughout the season, searching for food. They may also spend more time in urban areas - some flowering blue and black gums have been recorded in Hobart, and the birds sometimes turn to exotic red gums planted in gardens when they have limited alternatives. Initial survey findings suggest that this may be the case. 

So far, a high proportion of the global swift parrot population has been recorded as concentrated in two small areas where blue and black gums are flowering: at Rheban, and at the Southport Lagoon conservation area and surrounding areas (Ida Bay, Lune River etc.).

Given these findings, we strongly recommend that spring burning and vegetation clearance in forested areas is avoided around the Rheban and Ida Bay/Lune River areas, given these high concentrations of breeding swift parrots. We also recommend that those planning such activities elsewhere in Tasmania within swift parrot breeding range take the possibility of swift parrot presence into consideration, especially in the Hobart area. An awareness of the call may help planners identify the presence of birds. The call, and other information on the bird is provided on swift parrot profile. The breeding range is encompassed by the green lines in the map below.

If you're considering activities that could impact on breeding, and that can't be delayed till autumn, please contact us for further advice. Such activities include burning and tree-cutting in mature forests, and cutting flowering blue gums or black gums. See the swift parrot profile​ for more information.   

The surveys have not yet been completed, but we aim to share the findings as soon as we receive them. We welcome any additional observations of swift parrots and of flowering blue gums and black gums, and will provide updates on any additional information.  Also, given the apparent increase in use of urban areas this year, we would be grateful if you could distribute a request for reports of any collisions into windows and other man-made structures by swift parrots. These events are of interest to research, and we may be able to assist in reducing the risk of any repeat events.

Please circulate this information to others who may be able to act on it.





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