By John Tyne, Wildlife Ranger, Parks and Wildlife Commission of the NT
Over the last six months I’ve been monitoring the feral Rainbow Lorikeet population around Alice Springs. Most of these Lorikeets are likely to have escaped or been released from aviaries over the years, but recently they have been spotted nesting in hollows around town. I’ve got a decent handle on where they are now, but it’s been difficult to determine how many there are. I’m putting together a group of volunteers to help conduct a census to get an estimate on how many of the birds are out there. If any Land for Wildlife or Garden for Wildlife members are interested, please get in touch via email (John.Tyne@nt.gov.au) by Sunday the 25th of September to express interest. The time and date for the survey will be from 6:30-8am Wednesday the 28th of September.
Once I have participant numbers, I will print up a map with locations for the individuals to take observation from. I’m planning on meeting at 6:15 am, at the Town Council carpark to distribute the maps, pencils, etc. From the observation locations, I’ll ask that people listen and look for the lorikeets. If they are seen, the observer will need to record the time and a count of individual birds. If they are heard, they can try to move to where they can be seen, then take the time, a count, and record the new location. If the birds are moving, they can draw a line on the map indicating the direction of travel. When an observation is made, or you don’t hear or see anything after 10 minutes, participants can move on to the next location. At 8 am we can all meet back at the Town Council carpark, and I can collect the maps and observations.
There is no control work planned for the birds at the moment. This survey is really just a baseline so I can gather some data on how many birds are out there. If no control work is undertaken, it will be useful to see if there is any change in the population. If there is control work undertaken, it will help to determine if or how successful the work is.
Get in touch if you are willing to assist with the survey!
~ John Tyne