Jan - Feb 2018, Volume 28 Issue 1

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Scarlet Chested Parrot

Either in the bush or the aviary, Scarlet’s are a stunning little parrot, both in colour and temperament. I have had the pleasure of keeping and breeding many Scarlet’s in several of their colour mutations plus my favourites the normal Scarlets. During the 2017 breeding season, we spent some time in the bush with wild Scarlets, and this is about some of our observations and discoveries. However, this is only a preliminary report on what we hope will be a study over several years. One of our aims is to establish if Scarlet-Chested Parrots permanently inhabit the Woodland forests just beyond the Western Australian wheat belt. Have they lived almost unnoticed reasonably close to Perth in a stable population after colonising new areas? Scarlets have only been recorded in these forests 19 times between 1901 to 2014, most being in recent years. These tall forests enjoy a fairly stable climate, unlike their semi-arid or arid desert haunts which may lessen their need to be as nomadic.

Seasonal Nutrition

One of the fundamental keys for the maintenance of parrots is the feeding variety. The diet variety is of particular importance for the psittacids. So is the freshness of food and the use of temporality. The birds will receive natural chemical messages that benefit their metabolism at any time. Using this system, we can guide our birds to face the different stages of the year in the best conditions. In this way, when they receive annual growth herbs, they know it's time to prepare for reproduction. When we give them fruits rich in water, they know it is a hot season where not only water hydration is important.

Secrets at Sunrise

A documentary about one of Australia’s rarest birds and the people who are trying to save it It’s 4am in the pre-dawn darkness at remote Cape Arid National Park, 150 km east of the Esperance, Western Australia. My trousers are wet to the knees from walking through the low-lying scrub, damp with dew. Mosquitoes buzz overhead and settle on my knuckles, but I can’t shoo them away as my hands are firmly grasping a heavy shoulder mount camera. My mission is to film one of the world's rarest parrots. A bird not photographed in the wild until 2004 and with a world population of less than 150 birds, I knew filming Western Ground Parrots in their natural habitat was going to be a challenge.

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