June 14, 2023

Nineteen Orange-bellied Parrots have been released into the wild at Lake Connewarre in the final year of the seven-year Mainland Release Trial.

This year, Zoos Victoria and Deakin University are also trialling a new tracking system called ATLAS, which uses tiny radio transmitters that communicate with fixed tracking receivers in the field.     

This technology allows the collection of fine-scaled information about the movement and habitat use of these birds, with the aim of building our knowledge about how they use Victoria’s coastal habitats.

Just six years ago, fewer than 50 Orange-bellied Parrots were in the wild. Since this Trial began in 2017, more than 120 birds have been released at Victorian sites. These birds have joined wild birds, creating the largest flock of Orange-bellied Parrots in the past 15 years.

Caption: Gold Z purple. Spotted at Lake Connewarre September 2022. Credit: Craig Morley.

This year, about 140 birds are expected to naturally migrate north from their Tasmanian breeding grounds, the fourth year in a row that more than 100 migrant parrots have set off on that journey.

The Mainland Release Trial complements the successful release program of captive-bred birds in Tasmania.

The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action, Zoos Victoria, BirdLife Australia, Deakin University, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA), and the Tasmanian Government are partnering to deliver this final year of the trial.

The project is supported by the Victorian Government’s Icon Species Program; Zoos Victoria; and the CCMA through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Since 2017, the Icon Species Program has provided more than $4.6 million to support conservation projects for 22 of Victoria’s icon species, including the Orange-bellied parrot, Eastern barred bandicoot, Southern right whale, Hooded plover, Southern bent-wing bat and Spotted tree frog.

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