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Rescued timber to aid rare parrots

Timber salvaged after the Wunghnu-Numurkah fires in February will be used to provide nest boxes for the threatened turquoise parrot in the Warby Ranges.

July 29, 2014 3:05am

A turquoise parrot


Timber salvaged after the Wunghnu-Numurkah fires in February will be used to provide nest boxes for the threatened turquoise parrot in the Warby Ranges.

The Practical Parrot Action Project is a Communities for Nature-funded project by the Broken Boosey Conservation Management Network.

Broken-Boosey CMN stretches from the Warby Ranges to Barmah and down to Dookie and the Winton Wetlands.

Broken-Boosey CMN co-ordinator Janice Mentiplay-Smith said Moira Shire Council and Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority arranged for their Fruit Industry Employment Program crews to select hollow limbs from fire-salvaged timber stored at a farm in Wunghnu.

‘‘The turquoise parrot is a woodland bird under threat so we are working to protect a population found in the Warby Ranges by building and installing 100 nest boxes,’’ Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

‘‘While the turquoise parrot is a very adaptable little bird — it has ‘learned’ to eat weed seeds such as heliotrope, capeweed, fat hen and wireweed in the absence of the native peas and grasses it would have once fed on — the big problem for turquoise parrots is a lack of suitable nesting hollows in trees.

‘‘The nest boxes that have been built are a terrific artificial habitat but do not have the same insulation properties as real hollows, so when we heard that there was a pile of logs available to provide ‘real’ hollows for turquoise parrots we grabbed the opportunity.’’

To suit turquoise parrots, hollows need to have an entry hole around 40mm in diameter and to be about 800mm deep.

‘‘The small entry hole means they and their chicks are safe from predatory birds with long legs.’’

Ms Mentiplay-Smith said the Practical Parrot Action Project was a wonderful way to engage with landholders, learn more about the bird’s habits and to find out where the birds are.

‘‘Like most of the projects we do, we learn so much of our information from landholders — without them the project wouldn’t have flourished like it has.

‘‘Many landholders are keen to have nest boxes on their properties; more than we can supply.

‘‘However, with this salvaged timber, we can now include more landholders.’’

Ms Mentiplay-Smtih thanked Moira Shire Council, Goulburn Broken CMA and the fruit program crews for their support.

‘‘We would not have been able to source that amount of extra hollows without their hard work,’’ she said.

Goulburn Broken CMA strategic landscape planner Jenny Wilson said it was important for landholders to leave fallen logs and timber on their properties, particularly hollow logs of all sizes, to provide vital habitat for local wildlife, such as goannas, echidnas and small marsupials like antechinus and dunnarts.

‘‘It’s terrific that this fallen timber from the fires has been kept,’’ Dr Wilson said.

‘‘We plan to use more of it for other revegetation and remnant protections sites as well as creek and river re-snagging across the Goulburn Broken Catchment.’’

For more information about the Practical Parrot Action Project visit www.brokenbooseycmn.com and on the benefits of hollows and fallen timber see www.gbcma.vic.gov.au

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