Saving Golden-shouldered Parrots by practical, on-ground actions
Golden-shouldered Parrots have vanished from more than 50% of their range since 1930. Recent surveys show that the species is still on the path to extinction, including on Artemis Station, which was once considered a refuge. Their preferred open grassland habitats are being invaded by woody plants, which is causing excessive predation pressure. This, and the loss of critical wet season grasses, are the main reasons why the species is so endangered. We are doing practical, on-ground actions to restore 5000 hectares of parrot habitat on Artemis to its open structure and rehabilitate critical feeding areas. Our monitoring will use the best science to ensure we are having the biggest possible impact. Our restoration work involves two complimentary strategies: first, we will protect and enhance the remnant population of parrots on Artemis. Second, we will restore habitats that are now abandoned so that dispersing young parrots from the remnant population can recolonise. Now is the time to take these actions before the remnant parrot population on Artemis disappears forever. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity. Please support us.
There is no doubt that Golden-shouldered Parrots are on a path to extinction. This species was once widespread across Queensland’s tropical savannas, including as far north as Coen where they were very common until the 1930s. Nowadays, the species’ northernmost limit is on Artemis Station – 100km south – which is a beef cattle property. Once considered a refuge, over the past two decades Golden-shouldered Parrots have also disappeared from most of Artemis. The population there was recently estimated to be only 50 birds.
Previous research found that cattle grazing and altered fire regimes are changing the parrot’s open habitats to become thick with woody vegetation. It is thought that this has benefited ambush predators leading to unsustainable levels of predation. Critical food plants have also been degraded.
Under the close guidance of ecologists, we will contract vegetation management experts to help us restore parrot habitats back to their optimal open structure, while also protecting and enhancing critical feeding areas. Our management actions will include various combinations of specialised herbicides, physical clearing and strategic burning. The project team will collect data about parrot activity, vegetation structure and predation pressure pre- and post-actions, to ensure we are achieving our targets.
Our goal is to restore 5000 hectares parrot which includes areas where parrots still occur and areas where parrots have not been seen for about 20 years. Recolonisation of these areas relies on having a remnant population of parrots nearby. This is the case now, but every year that passes sees the remnant population get smaller and smaller. If we don’t act soon we may miss the opportunity to secure the remnant population and bolster the overall number of parrots on Artemis by recolonisation.
For more information, visit www.artemis.org.auPlease support us.