I Love Orange-bellied Parrots

Last Friday I was looking down a track in the northern part of the Western Treatment Plant and saw a jewel in the grass. It was so green and bright that at first it called to mind an Emerald Dove. Of course I knew that it would not be an Emerald Dove and as my bins went to my eyes, the back of a tiny Orange-bellied Parrot appeared. I did not expect to see one of these beautiful birds, and as much as I loved looking at it, I wish I had not. That little bird should have been in Tasmania.

According to its leg bands, he was a mainland released male from earlier this year. He had a silver band with a Y on his left leg and a red ring on his right. He was actively feeding on the tiny grass heads and seemed happy, although a tad woebegone. I was deeply moved. I stood for about 35 minutes basically where I had stopped when I first saw him. I just kept taking photos and marveling at, and loving, this tiny treasure. I did not want to disturb him and he allowed me to spend a little time with him. Just the two of us.

Here he is...

Eat well my little friend... get strong.

Num, num, num...
Eventually, moving slowly and quietly, I called my friend Dez Hughes (the Wader Whisperer) who was only few kilometers away. He headed up to see the parrot. However, minutes before he arrived, it had flown up, around, and disappeared into cover in the same general area. As Dez stood there with me, it flew up and out again, giving him great views of those vibrant blues and greens (and orange-belly) before it landed again disappearing in the scrub. We left the area.

I first saw wild Orange-bellied Parrots in June of 2012 at the Borrow Pit at the WTP. There were three. I was a fairly new birder and I fell in love with these wondrous little parrots as I would. I took Lynn and my twelve-year-old granddaughter, Mandy, to see them. We had amazing views and I took copious photos. Below are a few from that day.

I do not know if these critically endangered little parrots can survive. There are only a handful left in the wild. Literally. There might be less than thirty maybe? I do not know exactly.

Time is passing. I find being sixty-four years old unbelievable. But when I look at the changes I have been through and that I have seen in this world, I reckon I have to believe it. I hate to think that one day there may be no wild OBP’s left. I am so glad that I got to show them to Mandy over five years ago and I am so glad I got to see them then as well. However, I wish I had not seen this little guy there where he should not still have been. I wish he had gone to Tasmania weeks ago.


I literally just now read that a male OBP that was seen at the WTP on 21 September has arrived at the breeding grounds in Melaleuca, Tasmania on 29 September! And my little buddy was eating constantly. Maybe he was storing up energy for a big flight. I will not give up hope. Maybe he is going to get to Tassie after all. I hope so with all my heart.

To help these birds click here: Difficult Bird Research Group

Sending love from the Tiny House.