The night parrot: A mystery as old as our country ABC Science By Ann Jones for The Chase PHOTO: The moon hangs above the Birriliburu protected area in remote Western Australia.(ABC Science: Ann Jones) …
Sexual innuendo linked with bird-names is not too hard to find. Tits and shags are all too obvious and couple this with a largely male pursuit, add in lashings of post-adolescent humour and the article here is an almost inevitable consequence. I was sent this article by someone some time ago and I post it here in case someone finds it titillating or perhaps provocative of a behind-the-hands snigger.
John Young brought home the holy grail of Australian bird-watching – he found night parrots. But then the story gets murky. Penny Olsen’s book Nigh Parrot gives the detail that the keenest of birders want, the story behind every sighting ever made right up to today’s conservation efforts for the known populations and the work underway to establish if there are more. This Audubon Society magazine article gives the summary that almost every other birder wants. Why does it have to be this way? As the poet James Elroy Flecker observed, ‘men are unwise and curiously planned’.
The Twitchathon team, the Common Loudmouths, went north for a seven tick trip. . Philip was with us in spirit and it was his research that enabled our success. It was not, however, as simple as we had hoped. The Kalka-bloody-doon grasswren was the holdout and while we enjoyed the chase, most of the time at least, we would have enjoyed Philip’s presence more.
Images can be fixed photographically or they can be fixed mentally. A particularly magnificent image can stay within the neural circuits, to be recalled at will. One such image was created on this trip.
Night parrot stories is a film (see it on SBS at 8.30 pm on Christmas Eve, 2017) , a Facebook page and treasure troves of tales in the minds of many birders in this wide brown land. Both adjectives apply, as the distribution of these birds has opened up considerably since their rediscovery in the Diamantina and where they are found is typically very very brown.
No-one plans like the Loudmouths plan. In this case, we’re off to Boodjamulla in June/July 2018 to look for Kalkadoon grasswrens, Carpentarian grasswrens, Lilac-crowned fairy wren, Sandstone shrike thrush and more. This takes planning and where better to plan and plan often than some eatery and drinkery?
The bird world was agog in 2013 when details of the rediscovery, in the Diamantina, of the night parrot emerged. Since there the population number and range has extended. Those good years across the centre within the last decade have helped, the spread of feral cats hasn’t. Some serious conservation is now going on to secure the species.
Isn’t it odd how every cat owner will tell that their cat doesn’t eat birds. If it’s a cat, it eats birds, period! That’s what they do. If you must have a cat, and that’s a big if, make sure that it isn’t where birds are. There’re many good designs for cat runs, make one and put your cat in it. Check this article from The Conversation for reasons why.
Loudmouths fall under the spell of the Night parrot. This was just Search the First! And we reckon we’re on the right track and we’re having fun while searching.