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Newsupdate no. 54 – May 2012

On Monday April 23rd 2012, Anne Bondin and Dave Taylor spoke on the ABC Southcoast radio program about the dire situation of the Western Ground Parrot. Thoughout the interview the listener is reminded how important funding is to this birds survival. There is a framework available to save this bird but monetary intervention is now a necessity. To listen to the interview online click this link: or download the interview mp3 here, link: Another link (which is not related to the ABC) which ties in to the broader subject "Why work to save a species in peril ?" is: Interview © ABC 2012

Drawing by Wendy Binks;

The editor has 10 copies of a Western Ground Parrot Awareness Compact Disk (produced locally) to give away. I would say that this CD is suitable for young and old. It's an interactive presentation that seeks get the user interested (in the Western Ground Parrot) through some fun activities and relevant multi-media. Most people love the jigsaw puzzles. To get a copy all you have to do is fill in a short online form at;

Exciting Funding News   “The good news to date is that the Australian Government in Canberra has just announced that it has approved 1.45 million dollars from its Biodiversity Fund to continue the Integrated Fauna Management Project on WA's South Coast over the next five years which addresses the impact of introduced predators such as feral cats and foxes (both a major threat to the Western Ground Parrot) on native fauna.” Full article by Anne Bondin page 4.


New Remote Sound Recorders Trialed to Detect Western Ground Parrots By Jeff Pinder DEC. In Spring of 2011 the Department of Environment and Conservation’s (DEC) Integrated Fauna Recovery Project (IFRP) acquired on loan 20 SM2 Song Meter recording units from the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA). These units had been used previously as part of the DAFWA Starling Control Program. The units are very user friendly and portable and have sufficient battery power and memory capacity to store large amounts of data in the form of sound files. Consequently the units can be left out in the field in all weathers for weeks at a time. It is hoped that the SM2s can be used in the future as an additional tool both during and outside of times when human listeners (including volunteers provided by the Friends) are deployed. But the first step in using this new technology project team was to run trials to assess the effectiveness of the SM2 in detecting Western Ground Parrots (WGPs). Each song meter was programmed to record for 45 minutes twice a day during the WGP’s critical call-flight period at dawn and dusk. All trials so far have been undertaken in Cape Arid National Park (CANP); sadly now the only reliable location where researchers can hear this critically endangered bird with confidence. A few numbers of birds have been heard in the Fitzgerald River National Park. The first ARU trial took place in November 2011 and aimed to compare the SM2 technology with the abilities of human listeners to detect Western Ground Parrot calls. It was vital that human timepieces (watches and GPS units) were synchronized with the SM2 clock times so that matches could be established between calls detected by humans and those detected by the song meters. The results were very encouraging and demonstrated that the song meters were an able match for experienced listeners. Most calls recorded by experienced listeners were also picked up by the SM2s. Against less experienced listeners the song meters consistently detected more positive calls and could also confirm and reject many of the false positives i.e. SM2s were able to identify calls wrongly identified as WGPs by humans as actually being calls made by Tawny-Crowned Honey-eaters or crickets. Trial two was aimed at assessing some of the recording capabilities of the SM2s by comparing the units against each other. Ten units were set up in a 3x3 grid at 200 metre spacings (plus one extra). The location for this grid was one of the areas where WGPs had been heard in the first trial. The results showed that for some WGP calls, units that were as far apart as 400-500 metres detected the same call. This gave a good indication of the range of the SM2s. One problem encountered with this trial was that the units clocks seemed to lose or gain time against each other – as much as 15 seconds in one month. This made attempts to match up calls between units quite difficult. The third trial was designed to use the SM2s in one of the ways that the project team will be looking to utilize this technology in the future. That is to set the units out in areas that have never been surveyed for WGPs or areas that have not been surveyed for a long time. In isolation each recording device would simply look at assessing ‘presence/absence’ of WGPs. Nineteen units were deployed across CANP at approximately 5 kilometre spacings for approximately 6 weeks. The results from this trial are currently being analyzed and will be presented in the next newsletter. The ultimate excitement will be to record WGP calls in areas which have never been previously surveyed. Given the area of potential habitat in Cape Arid, it is a very real possibility that with this enhanced survey technology a small number of new ground parrots may be found. In summary, remote recording devices appear to have enormous potential for WGP research, not least of all, that they can work continuously for months in all weathers. The capacity for these units to remotely survey areas will also provide managers with improved data to base decisions on, and they will provide invaluable support for those valued volunteers who are still gaining confidence in ground parrot surveys.


Dr Abby Berryman has kindly provided the 2012 April Exetel Captive Management Report. You can download it from;

Membership fees Membership fees for the new financial year are due on 1 July 2012. We encourage everyone to pay the $10 fee so we can retain our status as tax deductible organisation which requires a minimum membership number. Direct deposits can be made into our account held with Westpac in Albany. Photo of Louisa Bell setting up one of the SM2s (Song Meter Recording Units) in Cape Arid 2011.Photo by Jeff Pinder, for article on page2. The editor wished to thank those who contributed in some way to this edition of the newsletter.

A/C Name: Friends of the Western Ground Parrot BSB: 036-168 A/C Number: 298 423 Please advise us once you have made the payment as our banking statement does not always include the name of the depositor. You can also pay by cheque payable to the Friends of the Western Ground Parrot and mail it to our postal address. Thank you in advance for your ongoing support.

Terrific photo of Brutus (one of the captive birds) – Š 2012 Dr Abby Berryman/DEC


South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team Update By Anne Bondin

At the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team Meeting held in early April we were made aware of the fact that there was no secure long-term funding to continue the Western Ground Parrot Recovery Project. The contracts of several key staff involved in the Western Ground Parrot Recovery Project as well as the Integrated Fauna Management Project were due to expire in May. No government funds were available to extend the contract of Dr Abby Berryman, the conservation officer employed to oversee the Captive Management Project nor were there any resources to continue the employment of the conservation team running the Integrated Fauna Recovery Program which has been trialling feral cat baiting on the South Coast. Our organisation immediately began to lobby the government for continued support of these projects. We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to write to the Minister for the Environment Bill Marmion. We greatly value the support we received from BirdLife Western Australia, the Friends of the Fitzgerald River National Park and the office of the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Dr. Sally Talbot. We are cautiously optimistic that our lobbying may have had some success and are keenly awaiting the ministeral announcement when the state budget is released later this month. The good news to date is that the Australian Government in Canberra has just announced that it has approved 1.45 million dollars from its Biodiversity Fund to continue the Integrated Fauna Management Project on WA's South Coast over the next five years which addresses the impact of introduced predators such as feral cats and foxes (both a major threat to the Western Ground Parrot) on native fauna. If a Captive Breeding Project is to go ahead more funds need to be found. Setting up such a program is not going to be cheap and will need secure funding for at least ten years if it is to be successful. As it is extremely unlikely that a Captive Breeding Project can be financed solely through government funding, we are seeking potential sponsors and donors who might be willing to commit resources to help boost Western Ground Parrot numbers through breeding the birds in captivity. We urge anyone who would like to be involved in this project to contact us. Also, if you know of any individuals or organisations who might be interested in contributing towards a Captive Breeding Project, let us know.

Contacts: Brenda Newbey (Chair). Phone (08) 9337 5673 Anne Bondin (Treasurer). Phone (08) 9844 1793 Dave Taylor (Secretary) 0458 502 836 Address: PO Box 5613, Albany, WA 6332 Email: Website: Archive: Previous issues of our newsletter are available online at

Editor: Stephen Fryc Email:

Next issue: July 2012


May 2012 Western Ground Parrot Newsletter  

The Friends of the Western Ground Parrot Newsletter May 2012.

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