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Newsupdate no. 62 – March 2014

This issue: * Progress and procedure of feral fauna control in Western Ground Parrot habitat (page 2) * Publicity Strategy (page 4) * new Twitter tag (page 6) * ........and much more

Breeding attempt by captive Western Ground Parrot pair Fifi (female 10F05) and Joy (male 09M04) by Abby Berryman, DPaW As reported in the last newsletter that Fifi (female 10F05) and Joy (male 09M04) had been showing promising signs of breeding behaviour including courtship feeding, mating and nest building. By late November however, this breeding behaviour had stopped, and at the time of writing the last newsletter article it was thought unlikely that this pair would attempt to breed. One thing that working with animals teaches you is to expect the unexpected, and this turned out to be exactly the case with Fifi and Joy. On Friday 6th December Fifi was showing signs of being unwell, with fluffed-up feathers, pronounced breathing, drooped wings and a decreased appetite. By evening her condition looked to have deteriorated and the decision was made to catch her and provide her with supportive therapy in the form of warmth, humidity, oral electrolytes and rest overnight. This did result in some improvement in her condition and in the morning she laid an egg, after which she looked considerably more comfortable. This was fortunate, because problems with laying can potentially become lifethreatening. Following this, the egg was placed in the nest scrape that Fifi had dug a few weeks prior and Fifi was released back into the aviary. The hope was that she would begin incubating the egg, and continue to lay a full clutch. She

was closely observed in the following days but did not take much interest in the egg and showed no signs of laying additional eggs. Eggs that haven’t commenced incubation can remain viable for seven days or more, so as a backup Perth Zoo had been approached to see if they could attempt incubation of the egg and hand-raising of any resulting chick. The zoo was very keen to help out and on the 13th of December the egg was flown to Perth and received into the capable hands of their staff. Unfortunately, after close inspection it was found that the egg was not viable, most probably as a result of the difficulties that Fifi had in laying. Although this was not the outcome hoped for, the whole process has been an extremely valuable learning experience and was a good trial run to refine to logistics of transferring an egg to Perth Zoo. If a similar situation arises in the future Parks and Wildlife be much better placed to respond to it. A huge thank you to the staff from the Perth Zoo for their advice, expertise and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty to give this egg every chance possible.

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Implementing Western Ground Parrot Recovery Actions- IFRP Team Report March 2014 by Louisa Bell and Abby Berryman for the Integrated Fauna Recovery Team, DPaW.

Feral cat baiting In January, Department of Parks and Wildlife staff from Albany, Esperance and Perth travelled out to Cape Arid National Park(CANP) for the monitoring associated with the fourth year of Eradicat® bait trials in this reserve. Eight feral cats were captured in the park over a two-week period. GPS collars were fitted on each cat prior to release. The data from these collars will give us vital information on direct bait uptake, and movements of the cats. This information will in turn help us to efficiently deliver cat baits throughout south coast baiting cells.

L. IFRP team preparing to do a flight over CANP to radio track collared cats (Photo: Jeff Pinder DPaW) R. Processing a feral cat (Photo: Jim Creighton)

Cat baiting success is also being monitored again with remote field cameras, and these were deployed prior to baiting, with 70 cameras placed in a grid pattern in Western Ground Parrot (WGP) habitat at the eastern end of the park grid. Images captured on these field cameras allow us to look at pre and post bait numbers of feral cats which are used to run models on probability that sites are occupied. Looking at the pre and post bait data provides a second measure for baiting success. The cameras are run for two weeks prior to the aerial bait drop and two weeks after the bait drop. These cameras also pick up other introduced predators (eg. fox) and native species, and this information will be used by the project team to look at baiting impacts.

In early March, approximately 70,000 baits were aerially dropped over CANP over three days covering an area of 1459km². Cameras are still out in the field at present collecting the post bait data. Staff will be travelling out to CANP in the new few weeks to carry out radio tracking by helicopter and from the ground to pick up the GPS collars. The Fitzgerald River National Park (FRNP) was baited the week following Cape Arid. Eradicat® baiting in the FRNP is in its fifth year with approximately 80,000 baits aerially dropped over a 1611km² area of the park. The Western Shield fauna trapping will continue in April to monitor the response of native species to integrated feral predator control.

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Once back from Cape Arid, the team started work in Waychinicup National Park, Manypeaks and Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserves. 2014 will be the first year that these areas are to be included in baiting through the integrated predator control program. The project team is really excited at the prospect of cat baiting these important reserves for the conservation of endemic species like the Noisy Scrub-bird and Gilbert’s Potoroo.  IFRP Conservation Officer Lucy Clausen setting a cat trap on Mt Gardner (Photo: Sarah Comer DPaW)

Staff carried out trapping in Waychinicup NP, Manypeaks and Two Peoples Bay over a three-week period and caught five cats and one fox. GPS collars were placed on all six predators and monitoring is still taking place at present. Aerial baiting with Eradicat® is planned for early April. Similar camera monitoring to that used in Cape Arid will be used to assess baiting success, with a total of 80 cameras placed on a 1km grid across the landscape. This includes a control site in the Angove Water Corporation Reserve, where baits will not be dropped. New Weather Station A remote weather station was installed in CANP in January, and information from this will be invaluable for informing the team about baiting conditions and providing data from the core area of ground parrot habitat. The remote weather station with Jon Pridham, and Jim Creighton who did a lot of the digging! (Photo: Sarah Comer DPaW)

Western Ground Parrot monitoring A number of Songmeters were placed around the cat monitoring camera grid in Cape Arid in suitable WGP habitat. These are currently still in the field recording data and will be collected in a few weeks when the cameras are brought in. The large camera grid which is accessed by quad bike has allowed the placement of Songmeters in areas that we would never have been able to access by foot. This allows Parks and Wildlife staff to expand into previously unknown WGP territories. The first focussed monitoring trip of the year has just been completed in Cape Arid National Park, with good numbers of ground parrots heard by the team of staff and

volunteers at Poison Creek. This is the second year in a row since the fire that autumn monitoring at this site has been successful. It was great to see birds using habitat burned in the 2011 bushfire. The Western Shield native fauna trapping program was conducted during this week, and Bandicoots were recorded on this grid for the first time. This, and the good number of ground parrots heard, provide encouraging signs that the introduced predator management efforts of Parks and Wildlife are really making a difference! Thanks to all the volunteers who participated in this trip.

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Help with a Public Awareness Strategy

by Georgina Steytler

In August 2013 the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot submitted an expression of interest to participate in the 2013 Campaign Management project for students studying public relations at Murdoch University. The project links a small team of final year public relations students with a not-for-profit community organisation. The students work with the organisation in researching and subsequently developing a public relations strategy. A plan is developed by the students, together with an estimate of the cost of implementing the plan. The students do not implement the plan themselves: that is up to the organisation. The committee decided this would be an excellent opportunity to get some help on how best to raise public awareness for the Western Ground Parrot, as well as assist the students to understand about the plight of the WGP and the difficulties faced by not-for-profit organisations (eg lack of resources!) Four Murdoch University students were allocated to our organisation: Edna Toyong, Kylie Bonkowski, Aida Purnasari and Tu Nguyen. I first met with them in September, then on 8 November I attended the university to see our group present their PR strategy for the Friends of the WGP. I may be biased, but I think our group did by far the best job on the day for a not-for-profit organisation! Among other things, they made a short video presentation about the WGP, developed a sample website, created a logo design with a small (and cute) WGP caricature and several children's activity sheets.

Save WA’s rarest bird

Western Ground Parrot They also conducted a survey with 20 primary school teachers and 30 university students. Results of particular interest were as follows: 

94% had not heard of the WGP;

of this number, 64% said that they were interested to know more;

82% thought that more should be done to raise awareness of the WGP;

the majority (40%) said that they would prefer to get more information/updates about the WGP via Facebook, 34% via WGP website, 28% via magazines and newspapers and 14% via emails.

Other aspects of the strategy included greater engagement with primary schools and the Albany community and concerted promotion of the WGP on Endangered Species Day (16 May 2014) by way of, among other things, media releases, interviews and articles. The Friends of the WGP committee is assessing the PR strategy to decide what ideas we can take on board and when and how to implement them - so watch this space! In the meantime, we once again thank Edna, Kylie, Aida and Tu for their great work. The Murdoch University program is open to all not-for-profit organisations and is run every year. If you would like to be involved, don't hesitate to contact the lecturer, Ms Christina Tan, and lodge an expression of interest. Her contact details are:

Christina Tan Lecturer in Public Relations School of Arts t : 08 9360 2324 e : c.tan@murdoch.edu.au

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Tu Nguyen, Kylie Bonkowski, Aida Purnasari and Edna Toyong standing in front of their presentation

Invitation to comment: South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Plan

The South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Plan, which includes actions for the Western Ground Parrot, is open for public comment until the 2nd of May. Copies and information on how to comment can be found at http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/draft-south-coastthreatened-birds-recovery-plan-wa.

ANNE HERE ?

Following the formal comment period it is proposed that the plan be adopted in accordance with the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Recovery actions specific to Western Ground Parrot conservation that are detailed in the plan include population monitoring and survey, fire management, predator control and establishing a captive breeding program.

From the FWGP committee Save the Western Ground Parrot Appeal We have set up a dedicated donation page with JustGiving to raise funds for a Captive Breeding Project. If you can't make a donation yourself, you can still help by sharing this link: http://www.justgiving.com/Friends-of-the-Western-Ground-Parrot We are pleased to announce that the Western Ground Parrot Rescue Fund has received a very generous donation of $5,000 from the Protection for the Earth and Wildlife Association in Perth.

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Western Ground Parrot in the media Sabrina Hahn kindly invited us back onto her ABC radio program for an update. Sarah Comer and Anne Bondin spoke to Sabrina and James last month. The Albany Advertiser and the Avicultural Society of WA magazine published articles about the Western Ground Parrot. By request we have also supplied an article to the Foreign Bird League magazine in the UK. To kick off the South Coast Festival of Birds we were invited to give a presentation at the Albany Library in March. The event was fully booked and well received. Sarah Comer and Abby Berryman from the Department of Parks and Wildlife kindly joined us. Twitter Everybody else is tweeting these days so we decided it was time we also joined Twitter. If you want to follow us, please go to: https://twitter.com/FriendsWGP

A favourite WGP food plant I have had an opportunity to study some of DPaW’s videos of ‘Charlie’ the Western Ground Parrot filmed in the wild by Brent Barrett and his team, while they were employed by DPaW. One of the plants that was favoured by ‘Charlie’ on 7 October 2006, was Synaphea favosa, a member of the Proteaceae family. It is a low plant in easy reach of a WGP. Charlie mostly selected the green fruits. One of these can be seen at the lower right of the RHS photo. He also ate a few synaphea flower buds. B. Newbey Photography by R. Butcher. Image used with the permission of the Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Parks and Wildlife (http://florabase.dpaw.wa.gov.au/help/copyright). Accessed on Tuesday, 25 March 2014.

Contacts: David Taylor (Chair). Phone 0458502836

Anne Bondin (Secretary). Phone (08) 9844 1793

Address: PO Box 5613, Albany, WA 6332

Email: wgparrot@gmail.com

Website: http://www.western-ground-parrot.org.au Archive: Previous issues of our newsletter are available online at http://wgpnewsletters.blogspot.com/

Editor: Stephen Fryc Email: pwazzx@gmail.com

Next issue: June 2014

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March 2014  

Friends of the Western Ground Parrot Newsletter, March 2014

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