Surprising find in time for Threatened Species Day

Friday 6 September, 2019

Parks Victoria finds Swift Parrots in the shadow of the Grampians

Parks Victoria and citizen scientists from the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria have discovered a great number of critically endangered Swift Parrots at Deep Lead Nature Conservation Reserve during a fauna survey.

Findings of the winter survey indicate up to 100 Swift Parrots were sighted over two days - a significant number given there are estimated to be only about 2,000 individuals left in the wild. Swift Parrots are one of only two species of migratory parrot in the world, which breeds in Tasmania and flies to the mainland in winter to feed on flowering Eucalypts.

The fauna survey collected valuable species data about Victoria’s protected areas and used bird surveys, spotlighting and remote cameras to record the resident wildlife.

Known to locals as ‘The Ironbarks’, the reserve is located on the edge of Stawell in Western Victoria, in the shadows of the Grampians mountain range or ‘Gariwerd’ as it is known by Traditional Owners. It is an internationally significant conservation area, known to support at least 350 native species, 21 of which are threatened, and three of which don’t exist anywhere else in the world.

Dr Mark Antos, Parks Victoria Manager for Science and Management Effectiveness said the reserve is a perfect example of the resilience of nature.

“The area was a very active goldfield during the 1800s and was heavily dug over and disturbed. Since being protected in 1982, the native Eucalypt woodlands have recovered and it is now a haven for wildlife,” said Dr Antos.

“The reserve contains a vast range of Eucalyptus species which flower at different times and provide a supply of nectar over much of the year for many native animals. This makes it a hotspot for birds affectionately nicknamed ‘blossom nomads’, such as Purple-crowned Lorikeets and rambunctious Friarbirds, which travel together across the landscape searching for Eucalypt blossoms.”

Protecting such a threatened species requires a coordinated effort across government and community. Parks Victoria ensures that habitat is protected for the species’ survival in the wild, volunteer citizen scientists contribute to our knowledge base, and Zoos Victoria has recently included the Swift Parrot in their ‘Fighting Extinction Priority List’.

Unfortunately, the survey also revealed the reserve still suffers negative human impacts. While prospecting and fossicking are not permitted because of potential environmental damage, illegal rubbish dumping continues to be a major issue.

“We were sad to see just how much rubbish had been dumped in this reserve during our first survey in 2016, and the problem persists three years later. This is one of the most important sites for nature conservation in Victoria, and deserves more respect. We need everyone to play a part in keeping it healthy.”

Anyone witnessing rubbish dumping or littering in a park can call Parks Victoria on 13 1963 or the EPA Litter line: 1300 372 842. The EPA ‘Report Litter’ app can also be downloaded from the Apple or Google app stores.

High resolution images available to download here:

Media enquiries

Stephanie Zilles

(03) 8427 3466 Mobile: 0498 007 891

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