Swift parrot distribution in Tasmania varies each year, depending on available tree hollows in which they raise young and proximity to highly variable flowering of their main food sources - in particular flowering blue gum (E. globulus) and black gum (E. ovata), and in the Eastern Tiers - Brookers gum (E. brookeriana).
Swift parrot sighting surveys (conducted by Dr Matt Webb and volunteers) and Eucalypt bud surveys (conducted by the ANU on behalf of NRM South), along with sightings provided by industry (Sustainable Timbers Tasmania) and the community, provide a picture of where swift parrots are likely to be each year. This information can help guide where planners and managers should focus efforts to minimise risks of their activities impacting on this critically endangered species.
Swift parrot sighting records this year show birds to be concentrated in the following areas:
- Eastern Tiers (Tooms Lake to Royal George Rd)
- Tasman Peninsula
- Bruny Island
and to a lesser extent in:
- Little Swanport
- Boomer Bay
- Kermandie/Port Huon
- Ida Bay
Swift parrots have also been sighted with some breeding activity by the community at Sandford, Devonport (Kelcey Tier) and Burnie. It remains possible that breeding is occurring in other parts of the swift parrot breeding range (refer to map below, you can also access range boundary maps on the NVA).
These areas corroborate with annual eucalypt bud surveys, conducted in September-October this year, that reported light bud across most areas surveyed (especially E. ovata) and a prediction that main flowering would be on Bruny Island, Tasman Peninsula and in the Eastern Tiers.
This information may be a useful tool in planning operations on a regional basis. If you're considering activities in these areas that could impact on breeding, and that can't be delayed till autumn, please contact the Conservation Assessments Team (ConservationAssessments@nre.tas.gov.au) and the Threatened Species Section (ThreatenedSpecies.Enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au) for further advice. Spring burning and vegetation clearance in forested parts of the areas listed above where swift parrots are likely to breed have the potential to impact on the breeding swift parrot population.
We welcome any additional observations of swift parrots and of flowering blue, black and Brooker's gums. You can find a parrot identification guide on our Threatened Species Link, and we would appreciate sightings to be uploaded on to the NVA. You can log them via our team at firstname.lastname@example.org or else enter the data yourself on to the NVA (www.naturalvaluesatlas.tas.gov.au). There are also other sighting apps available for this purpose (e.g. iNaturalist or Birdata). Important information to record from your sighting include: your name, sighting date, location (preferably a GPS position), notes on behaviour, and images/video/audio to verify your record and provide important context. We use this information to help understand more about the parrots' broader movements, diet, behaviour, habitat and threats. Sightings of injured or dead birds and information related to collisions etc. provide valuable insights into causes of injury and death and how this may be prevented.