Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Visit from an Escapee!

Several times lately I've heard a bird call that I couldn't identify, from somewhere close to my house. Frustratingly, I had failed to even locate it. That was until yesterday afternoon. Sitting in front of my PC with doors and windows open, I heard a nearby commotion. Something had the local Noisy Miners and Little Wattlebirds stirred up and I went outside to investigate.

Clearly their focus was on next door's Ash tree, but equally obviously it was deep among the foliage. I had searched for several minutes without success when a bird shot out of the tree and down the garden. I had a fleeting view of a beautiful green parrot, quite large and a great flyer, as it sped away.

Early this morning, I heard that call again, this time from my own garden. I grabbed a camera and a quick search revealed that it was in an angophora. I closely approached that tree, but again failed to find it before it took off, screeching, disappearing over adjacent gardens. Shrugging my shoulders and trudging back towards the house, somewhat disappointed, I happened to look towards a neighbour's Coral Gum, and there it was! Well I guess I shouldn't get too excited, it is after all an escapee, most probably an Alexandrine's Parakeet. It seems to lack some of the markings of that species, but perhaps it's a young bird. Maybe there's someone out there who might put me straight if that's incorrect. Alexandrine's is a native of India, but a fairly commonly kept aviary bird. I'm not a fan of cage birds, but I suspect this individual may not survive long in the wild, certainly if the local miners and wattlebirds have any say. [It appears to actually be a female Rose-ringed Parakeet--also from the Indian sub-continent--my thanks to Neil, see comments]

Beautiful as this bird may be, introduced bird species often end up as pests. Many owe their presence in the wild, to aviary escapes. Some threaten our own bird species. The Rainbow Lorikeet springs to mind as a species that interbreeds with native species and has the potential to do serious damage to fruit crops. The cost of eradication, if this problem is not dealt with quickly, could be enormous.


Neil said...

Interesting post we think it may be a Female Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)Widespread resident of Indian Subcontinent.Green head and blue-green tip to tail. Male has black chin stripe and pink collar.

Ref Pocket Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent.

BirdingTas said...

Hi Neil,
Yes, I think you're quite correct. The lack of colouring has made it more difficult. Looking at Forshaw's "Parrots of the World", I think I should have looked closer at the size of the bird. The Alexandrine's is somewhat larger, although guessing at the size of birds in the field, can be a challenge. Thanks for the info..