Mar-Apr 2015, Volume 25 Issue 2

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The Big Aviary

If you’ve ever visited Jurong Bird Park in Singapore you probably came away, just as I did, dreaming of having large aviaries complete with waterfalls and tropical landscaping. Unfortunately for me, Kangaroo Island off South Australia where I live is not exactly tropical so building such an avian environment would be unlikely, if not impossible. I did, however, decide that a large community aviary to enable my cockatoos to have some good flying space was just what I needed.

Artemis Feed Station

The wet season of 2014/15 has been a non-event at Artemis Station, home of the endangered Golden-shouldered Parrot. One storm yielded just over 50mm of rain in December then, from January through to mid-March, less than 300mm of rain fell when normally 800mm to over one metre of rain would be expected. This has caused two things to happen; firstly there has just been enough moisture for the annual seeds of the Fire Grass to start to germinate. Fire Grass seeds form the major part of the Golden-shouldered Parrots’ diet from May until when the storm rains normally start in October or November. Secondly, this year the lack of substantial rain has caused the Cockatoo Grass to fail to produce any substantial quantities of viable seed. This perennial grass is the first to set seed during the storm season and is considered to be the trigger for the start of the Golden-shouldered Parrots breeding season.

Secrets at Sunrise

My husband Dave and I are documentary film-makers and we are currently in early stages of production on an exciting new documentary! It’s called ‘Secrets at Sunrise’ and centres around the amazing work that scientists from the Department of Parks and Wildlife (DPaW) and dedicated volunteers from Friends of the Western Ground Parrot (FWGP) are doing in saving the Western Ground Parrot from extinction. The Western Ground Parrot is so critically endangered there are only 140 left in the wild, and only found in one location.

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