Joy and Dawn show very similar behaviour throughout the day with periods of feeding interspersed with rest periods. Both birds spend a lot of time each day eating the fresh native vegetation that they are provided with. This vegetation includes a variety of plants that are flowering or seeding. At times both Joy and Dawn become very active, running around the aviary and doing small jumps and flits into the air. It is possible that this behaviour is a type of ‘play’ as both are young birds whereas this hasn’t been observed in Zephyr, who is older. In general, Zephyr is much less active than the two young birds. At one point he had become quite sedentary, spending most of his day sitting in the one spot with occasional visits to the feed tray to eat budgie seed and he showed very little interest in the native plant food. As a result of this inactivity, Zephyr’s weight began to increase and it became necessary to attempt to control this weight gain. The amount of budgie seed that Zephyr was given was reduced but he was still
supplied with plenty of native plant food, with the aim of encouraging him to eat these plants. Over several weeks this had the intended effect and Zephyr began to spend more time each day eating the native plants and his weight slowly decreased and stabilised. There are several benefits gained from eating the native plants – they encourage the bird to work harder to obtain its food, providing stimulation for the bird and the native plants are more likely to provide the full range of nutrients that the bird requires. Overall, the three birds have settled into captivity well. The behaviour of Joy and Dawn in particular shows that they are well-adjusted birds and even Zephyr has shown marked improvements by becoming more active and feeding on the native plants. Within the next month or two, the birds will be shifted into new, purpose-built aviaries. These aviaries are larger and have had the vegetation within them retained, providing an even better captive environment for the birds.
Abby Berryman giving her very informative presentation at the meeting of the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot. The excellent venue was the conference room of the South Coast Natural Resource Management Centre.
News updates on this endangered parrot.