Latest Updates

​​​​​​​​​​​​21 January 2020: Update from the field

The Orange-Bellied Parrot (OBP) Recovery Team has confirmed that as of 21 January 2020, 23 OBPs have returned to the last known breeding location, Melaleuca in the last year. ​​

Of these:

  • ​More than half of these OBPs are females, for the first time in five years;
  • Among those returned birds, 16 were born in the wild, six were first year birds migrating successfully for the first time, while the remaining ten successful wild-born migrants were aged up to at least nine years old;
  • The other seven of the OBPs that returned were born in captivity and released at Melaleuca as either: juveniles last autumn (four) or the previous autumn (one), or adults last spring (one) or a previous spring (one). 
DPIPWE led the release of 34 OBPs (17 males, 17 females) to maximise the number of breeding pairs and young birds born in the wild this season. 

Of the 34 OBPs added to the population:
  • nine were captive-bred adults released to the wild for the first time. 
  • the remaining 25 OBPs were released after being captured in the wild last autumn and held in captivity over winter. Three of these were captive-born birds that had been released the previous spring,18 were wild-born birds that fledged last breeding season, and four were wild born birds that had fledged the previous season. 

The OBPs (listed above) were either born or held in captivity in the OBP Tasmanian Program's Five Mile Beach facility, Moonlit Sanctuary, Zoos Victoria's Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo. 

The OBP is one of Australia's most critically endangered species. Throughout the past decade, the number of individuals that have returned to Melaleuca has ranged between 17 and 35 individuals.

With the best female returns for several years and released birds boosting the small wild population, the OBP Tasmanian Program are hopeful for promising results this breeding season. 

A  full summary by the Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Team can be found below:

​8 November 2019: A quick field update from DPIPWE

Melaleuca

Volunteers have reported observations of 20 wild return OBPs at Melaleuca – 11 males and 9 females.

Of these:

  • 8 are wild born birds >1 year of age that have undergone a natural migration;
  • 4 are wild born birds <1 year of age that have undergone a natural migration;
  • 1 is a wild born bird that was previously head-started (at Werribee Open Range Zoo) and released at Melaleuca in Spring 2018 before migrating naturally this year;
  • 2 are captive-bred birds released in previous spring releases (one from DPIPWE, one from Priam);
  • 1 is a captive-bred bird released as a juvenile in autumn 2018 (bred at Healesville) and
  • 4 are captive-bred birds released as juveniles in autumn 2019 (all bred at Moonlit).

A further 34 individuals have now been released at Melaleuca. This supplementation increases the number of breeding pairs at Melaleuca (the only breeding site for OBPs) and balances the sex ratio, which prevents extinction in the wild.

NEW HARBOUR

15 OBPs were released at New Harbour (8 male on 30/11/19, 7 female on 31/11/19).

Of these, as at 4/11/19, up to nine have been detected as follows:

  • Five in one release aviary, with a sixth calling outside;
  • One is being observed at both Melaleuca and New Harbour and
  • Two are outside of the immediate release area.

Monitoring at the site is underway using camera and passive and active radio tracking.

This reintroduction aims to increase the size and extent of the Tasmanian breeding population and trial methods of release at more locations, to allow us to build towards a release strategy that can minimise the risks associated with a single breeding site.


11 July 2019: Volunteer at the Five Mile Beach captive breeding facility

Volunteers are needed to assist with gardening and animal care at the new Orange-bellied Parrot (OBP) breeding facility at Five Mile Beach (near the Hobart Airport). 

OBPs (Neophema chrysogaster) are critically endangered with fewer than 50 birds remaining in the wild. The Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program at Five Mile Beach breeds OBPs in captivity for release to the wild, and as insurance against species extinction.

Volunteer Activities

Animal care: daily feeding rounds, preparing food and enrichment items, bird observations and basic record keeping, and cleaning aviaries, dishes and equipment.

Gardening: preparing and maintaining OBP foraging gardens, maintaining landscape plantings, gathering browse, weeding, and potting, growing and watering plants for aviaries.

Selection Criteria

To undertake these activities, volunteers should demonstrate their skills, knowledge and experience in:
Animal Care
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Good observational skills
  • Ability to accurately record information
  • Willingness and ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • Willingness to work outdoors in a range of weather conditions
  • Availability to commit a minimum 150 hours preferred; timeframe is negotiable
  • Weekly attendance is required to ensure recall of duties
Gardening
  • Experience growing plants and weeding
  • Good communication and interpersonal skills
  • Willingness and ability to work independently or as part of a team
  • Willingness to work outdoors in a range of weather conditions
  • Availability to commit a minimum 40 hours preferred; timeframe is negotiable

Volunteers are invited to apply for a minimum period (see Selection Criteria) over a negotiable timeframe. Shorter commitments may be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Volunteers are provided with personal protective equipment relevant to the volunteer activities as well as induction and support from DPIPWE's OBP Tasmanian Program.

To apply, please provide:
  • One to two page covering letter outlining your experience, skills, knowledge and ability as they relate to the Volunteer Activities and Selection Criteria
  • A copy of your current Resumé/CV
  • Your available start date and availability eg “I'm available to volunteer every Tuesday and Friday for four hours"

Applications close Thursday 25 July 2019. 

For more information and to submit your application please email OBP.Program@dpipwe.tas.gov.au


4 July 2019: Volunteers wanted at Melaleuca

The Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) is seeking volunteers to monitor the wild population of the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot (OBP) at Melaleuca in Tasmania's South West.

Volunteer activities include observing and recording birds of multiple species, providing supplementary feed for OBPs, cleaning feed tables and managing remote cameras.

To undertake these activities, volunteers should demonstrate their skills, knowledge and experience in relation to the following selection criteria:
  • Ability to live in a remote and isolated location for a two or four-week period
  • Confidence travelling on light aircraft
  • Ability to accurately identify bird species and ID bands with a spotting scope
  • Ability to accurately record data on datasheets and electronic apps
  • Ability to walk up to 6km per day on uneven ground and carry weights of up to 7kg
  • Current first aid qualifications, or obtain them prior to volunteering
  • Well-developed interpersonal and oral communication skills 
  • Ability to work as a member of a team
Volunteers are invited to apply to spend four weeks at Melaleuca between the 24 September 2019 and 7 May 2020. Shorter shifts (a minimum of two weeks) may be considered.

Volunteers work in pairs, and pairs already known to each other are encouraged to apply.

Volunteers are provided with light aircraft flights from Hobart to Melaleuca, accommodation in a rustic hut, PPE relevant to the volunteer activities, and induction and support from DPIPWE.

Volunteers must provide their own food, sleeping bag, and clothing suitable to the often adverse field conditions at Melaleuca, Tasmania.

To apply please provide the following:
  • One to two page covering letter outlining your experience, skills, knowledge and ability as they relate to the Volunteer Activities, Selection Criteria and living conditions
  • a copy of your current Resumé/CV, and
  • your available start dates and periods of availability according to the schedule below
Applications close on Friday 2 August 2019.

For more information and to submit your application please email OBP.Program@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Applicants are also encouraged to contact Friends of OBP Branch of Wildcare Inc to learn about the benefits of joining Wildcare.

Scheduled start dates: 24/9/2019, 8/10/2019, 22/10/2019, 5/11/2019, 19/11/2019, 3/12/2019, 17/12/2019, 31/12/2019, 14/01/2020, 28/01/2020, 11/02/2020, 25/02/2020, 10/03/2020, 24/03/2020, 07/04/2020, 21/04/2020.

Period: 4 weeks (preferred) or 2 weeks



 


Contact

Orange-bellied Parrot Tasmanian Program
Threatened Species & Conservation Programs
GPO Box 44
Hobart TAS 7001
Email: OBP.Program@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

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