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Very lost swift parrot released following rehabilitation

Date: 14-Jul-20
Author: Liam Taylor

The spectacularly coloured swift parrot is critically endangered, making this bird's recovery even more significant. © WikiCommons

The spectacularly coloured swift parrot is critically endangered, making this bird's recovery even more significant.

A critically endangered swift parrot who took a 600km detour from normal flying routes to Lord Howe Island has been successfully returned to the wild.

The tiny parrot had turned up on Lord Howe Island in late May, about 600 kilometres from standard coastal migratory paths taken over Port Macquarie. It’s just the second recorded sighting of a swift parrot on Lord Howe Island, and the parrot was found thoroughly exhausted.

After the male bird was recovered from a local resident’s chook pen, he was taken to Sydney’s Taronga Wildlife Hospital to undergo rehabilitation. Once the bird gained enough strength to be released conservationists also had to find a wild flock in NSW for the parrot to join, not an easy task for a critically endangered species with just 2,000 birds remaining in the wild.

"With such a small population left in the wild, finding an appropriate location to release this precious bird was paramount," Mick Roderick manager of Birdlife Australia's woodland bird program told ABC News.

"In a critically endangered population every individual animal is extremely important."

A solution was found thanks to a report from a member of the Hunter Bird Observers Club, who spotted a small flock of the parrots in the Werakata State Conservation Area of the Hunter region. The bird was released and according to reports immediately joined the flock of fellow parrots. 

"He started calling and flew off to where the other birds in the flock were,” Mr Roderick said. 

"It's really exciting…he's gone back and joined his mates, so it's a real success story."


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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