What is it with night parrots, John Young and hanky-panky?

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’.

Night parrot stories

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.