Thursday, December 20, 2012

Red-rumped Parrots observed information

These gorgeous birds are a regular visitor to my neighbour, Carol's, garden. They spend at least 2 hours each morning eating grass seed on her back lawn from about 9 o'clock onwards. They fly into her garden over the west side gum trees as a flock and then separate into pairs or individuals and begin eating. If disturbed they will generally fly away as a flock into the nearest trees but scatter as a flock rather than all going to the same tree. Some will go this way, the others will fly another way.

When on the ground eating grass seed they avoid areas on the ground that are infested with ants, or even just have a few ants. Ants, even the small ones here, tend to bite anything that touches the ground. Their bites hurt as I've been bitten by ants numerous times just walking barefoot on the grass.

The Red-rumped Parrots generally do not eat from Carol's bird feeder as it usually has a few ants over the feeder. Those ants bite harder than the ants on the ground. However, I have noticed the Red-rumped Parrots spend time in the Silk Tree's top canopy branches (the bird feeder is attached to one of it's branches) especially before they change their feeding location. The Silk Tree is currently in flower which I believe may be attracting the birds in the first place. The Silk Tree is not in the immediate area of their grass seed feeding ground, and is about 10-15 metres away. The birds seem to flutter about in the Silk Tree, hopping from one branch to another before they all fly away.

The Red-rumped Parrots have not been observed eating anything else. However, I did count 15 of these birds when I first spotted them about a week ago and their numbers were about the same today. Their numbers have reduced over the course of a week due to some of the birds not coming into Carol's garden every day. Also, for the passed 3-4 days the outside temperature has been exceptionally high and very humid. This species travels in a flock with at least 2 adult males, an unknown number of adult females and juveniles of between newly fledged/6 months old to about 2 years of age (valid for only this flock). Most of this flock are juveniles of various ages which might actually explain why the parrots are gorging themselves on grass seed, to help the juveniles grow and be strong and healthy.

Generally, Red-rumped Parrots are rarely seen in a flock here in Tenterfield. You'd normally only seen them flying around in pairs, if at all. So it is safe to say that they only flock together when their offspring are old enough to fly around the place in a group - when the juveniles are strong enough to do so - and the chances of being eaten by a predator are reduced when in a flock but also it helps reduce the numbers of individuals being eaten by their "scattering" behaviour.

Click here for the recent Red-rumped Parrot photos of the flock.


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