14 June 2020

Mainland Release Trial 2020 Four-Week Update

Four-Week Update - 22 May 2020 



It’s now just over five weeks since the Mainland Release Trial partners released the first Orange-bellied Parrots (OBPs) at two sites in coastal Victoria. Since the last update two weeks ago, we have been monitoring birds regularly and collecting data on their movement patterns, habitat use, foraging behaviours and social groupings. We have also been on the lookout for any wild OBPs arriving from Tasmania.

The Spit (Point Wilson) release

Thirteen birds were released at the northern end of The Spit Nature Conservation Reserve this year, a group made up of five assisted-migration birds and eight birds bred at Healesville Sanctuary. Of these, a captive-release bird was unfortunately found predated (killed) in the week after release.

Of this release group, seven birds have been regularly seen in the last two weeks exploring the area around the Spit and Lake Borrie. The 9 km of coastline between these two sites offers a wide variety of native food plants and we’ve recently seen the group feeding on Austral Seablite and Beaded Glasswort - both traditional OBP autumn/winter food plants.

Some of these individuals are now mixing with four of the birds from the 2019 Mainland Release, including a female who was released at the 2019 Western Treatment Plant release site and was last seen in September at Werribee Open Range Zoo. These birds have good local knowledge of the area, which we hope will benefit their more recently-released companions.

Excitingly, we have also observed the arrival of three natural migrants, who have been interacting with this group at different times in the last two weeks. These natural migrants have found their own way to the area from the breeding site in Tasmania and include:

• adult female Silver Silver C (returning for her second winter at the site; the 2019 release birds would be known to her)
• juvenile female Blue D Yellow, who has arrived for her first winter. This female was captive-bred in Tasmania and released at the breeding site in southwest Tasmania in February
• juvenile male Purple Green B, who has also arrived for his first winter. He is a wild-born bird.
[Edit: another wild, natural migrant has joined the group. See separate post for details.]

Unfortunately, five individuals from the release group have not been seen in the previous two weeks. Only two of these were released with radio-transmitters. Given the birds we have located have been spending a lot of time in dense parts of the saltmarsh not accessible on foot, we hope some of the missing birds may in fact be with them, and simply evading detection. Of the two satellite tag birds, one has not been seen since three days after release (though a weak signal was received recently) and the other was seen in the last two weeks, still wearing its tag, though signals from the tag have not been detected in this period. We will be using a new receiver to search for these tags on the ground.

The north Western Port Bay release



The second group was released at north Western Port Bay and consisted of 13 captive-bred birds from Moonlit Sanctuary. As mentioned in the previous update, the flock of OBPs at this release site received recall training whilst in the aviary, leading up to their release. The aim of this conservation training was to: instill site fidelity in the birds so that they would remain in the area post-release, and to encourage the birds to return to the aviary post-release upon them hearing an auditory cue (produced by a whistle), to enable monitoring of their presence and visual health. The training produced strong recall behaviour in the birds while they were in the aviary leading up to the release day.

The recall training was performed three times per day up until 10 days prior to release, at which point we then introduced local wild food: this saw a lag in the birds’ response time to the recall. Following this we amended our training plan for the remainder of the birds’ time in the release aviary, to adapt to their new response, which once again resulted in the desired recall response returning. On the afternoon of the day of their release, the recall training was carried out as per usual, however, the birds did not respond by returning to the aviary. The delivery of the auditory cue was continued for a further seven days post-release, with no change in the birds’ response, and they chose to remain wherever they were (for some birds this was foraging out in the saltmarsh adjacent to the release site).

Six birds from the release group have been seen in the last fortnight consisting of two handraised birds (both wearing transmitters), and four parent-raised birds (three wearing transmitters). Of the remaining six birds that have not been seen or detected in the last fortnight (remembering that one of the original 13 birds was recaptured due to an attack by a Grey Butcherbird), two are hand-raised birds and four are parent-raised birds; and this includes three birds not wearing transmitters making them difficult to search for, two wearing radio transmitters and one wearing a satellite tag. Signals from the satellite tag have not been detected in the last two weeks. We will be using a new receiver to search for these tags on the ground.

One parent-raised bird has been visiting the OBPs in the breeding facility at Moonlit Sanctuary, while also being detected out in the saltmarsh in Western Port Bay, presumably where she is foraging. The other five have been seen regularly in saltmarsh habitat as a single group, or two separate groups of two and three birds.

The birds at this site are still primarily eating Beaded Glasswort but have been occupying a greater number of sites within the saltmarsh, which appears to be coinciding with fine-scale changes to the lushness of the Beaded Glasswort (senescing in some areas while remaining green and lush in others).

Blue-winged Parrots (Neophema chrysostoma) have been observed in the area, often with the OBPs, and on one evening the two species were observed flying to a roost site together in the mangroves.

At both sites, survey efforts are expanding to look for the missing individuals as well as more wild birds and collect information on the behaviours, food and habitat selection of the wild and released birds. We are also trialling the use of drones to perform radio tracking, which may greatly increase search efficiency and improve our chances of detecting missing birds.

The Mainland Release is a partnership between Victoria's Department of Environment, Land, Water & Parks (DELWP), Zoos Victoria and Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, assisted by BirdLife Australia, Melbourne Water, Parks Victoria and the Tasmanian OBP Program.

This year we are undertaking our monitoring with modified procedures to keep an eye on the birds while also observing social distancing to keep our community safe.

We encourage all sightings of OBPs in the release areas to be reported to OBP.Release@delwp.vic.gov.au.

First photo: birds from The Spit release site feeding in Austral Seablite, by Paul Rushworth
Second photo: two of the juveniles that are being regularly seen, wearing transmitters and foraging on Beaded Glasswort in Western Port Bay, by A. Herrod

14 August 2015

Beak & feather disease urgent strategic response

The following is a communique published by Gregory Andrews, Australia's Threatened Species Commissioner, on June 12, 2015. 


Orange-bellied parrot urgent strategic response workshop
Agreed chair’s summary

Today I had the honour to chair a group of 21 of Australias key experts on the Orange-bellied Parrot who came together at Melbourne Zoo and unanimously agreed on a high-level urgent strategic response to the outbreak of beak and feather disease affecting this critically endangered bird.  These people, with over 212 years of collective experience working on this bird, included members of the Recovery Team, BirdLife Australia, Friends of the Orange-bellied Parrot, Tasmanian, Victorian, South Australian and federal governments, key scientists from the university sector, captive breeders, avian experts, virologists, animal disease specialists and zoos.
Minister Hunt asked me, as the Threatened Species Commissioner, to lead this emergency response workshop to address the beak and feather disease outbreak and backed the Australian Governments commitment to the Orange-bellied Parrot with an announcement of a $525,000 injection into its recovery program.  The Tasmanian Government made a co-contribution of over $800,000.  In the morning, Tasmania shared details on the latest developments and key scientists outlined risks and opportunities associated with the disease.  After this, we worked collaboratively to agree on a strategic response with four approaches to keep the bird alive in the wild by focusing on:
1.     Boosting the captive breeding and release program
2.     Adjusting management practices in its habitat and in the captive breeding facilities
3.     Investing in more science to better understand the disease and its effects on the parrot
4.     Improving governance, and working and communicating together
This urgent strategic response will be implemented consistently with the existing draft orange-bellied parrot recovery plan, which is the overarching policy document for the birds recovery and protection for extinction. 
The group is 100 per cent united in its commitment to work together according to the principles of science, action and partnership to implement this urgent strategic response which we are confident will help the parrot through the current beak and feather disease challenge.  Importantly, the group is also committed to working collaboratively over the longer-term to do everything possible to save the Orange-bellied Parrot from extinction in the wild.  As one of Australias, and indeed the worlds most endangered species, the Orange-bellied Parrot deserves no less. 
Over the next two weeks, the participating organisations at the workshop agreed to nut out actions and commitments in the urgent strategic response over one, two, three, six and twelve month timeframes and for the response to be reviewed in three months my office will be coordinating this.  The Strategic Action Planning Group of the orange-bellied parrot recovery team will be the coordination point for this response and will be assisted by my office.


Gregory Andrews
Threatened Species Commissioner

12 June 2015



High-level urgent strategic response 12 June 2015 - 12 June 2016

1.      Boosting the captive and wild population
  Wild population (innovative techniques)
  Captive population

2. Adjusting management practices
  Best practice nest management
  Managing predator and competitor impacts
  Best practice feeding
  Best veterinary practice and biosecurity
  Food and habitat adequacy

3. Boosting science and understanding
  Disease risk analysis
  Passive and active vaccination
  Genetic tools for management
  Feasibility of second wild population
  Understanding broader threats and survival and reproduction
  Finding and monitoring every nest/OBP

4. Improving governance, communication and working together
  Response coordination
  Leadership and decision making
  Better information sharing
  Skills gap assessment

  Finalise and implement the broader Recovery Plan

16 July 2015

How can I help?

It's easy to feel discouraged - even hopeless - about the Orange-bellied Parrot. While the birds are facing some tough obstacles, they're still thriving in captivity, and are still out there in the wild. Many fine people are working hard to save them.

There are a range of things you can do to help, too. Here's how.

Volunteer for the winter surveys
Up to 100 people search dozens of sites every winter, looking for these small, bright but elusive birds. It's crucial to find where they spend winters so we can understand their habitat needs and help keep them safe.

The next surveys are this month over the weekend July 25/26, and the weekend September 12/13.

Expect to scour coastal saltmarsh, paddocks and other habitat. Experienced birdwatchers will lead less experienced folk.

Click on this link to BirdLife Australia's Orange-bellied Parrot winter survey page and contact your local regional coordinator. Surveys take about 2-3 hours and are conducted across coastal Victoria, South Australia and north-west Tasmania.

Donate
Save the Orange-bellied Parrot raises money to help BirdLife Australia fund winter survey coordination. Our fundraising page is part of Givematcher, which enables donors to have their money 'matched' by companies. This can double your donation!

BirdLife Australia is a registered charity so donations over $2 are tax-deductible.

Save the Orange-bellied Parrot's Givematcher page is here.

Buy things to wear & use
Save the Orange-bellied Parrot has a line of t-shirts, hoodies, sweaters and stickers, as well as homewears and phone/laptop covers here. Money raised goes towards OBP conservation.

Save the Orange-bellied Parrot has its own e-commerce store on Facebook. At present, we are selling our popular lapel pins, which make great birthday presents.


Buy one, two or three at our shop.

Talk about them
Most importantly, if you want to help Orange-bellied Parrots, you can do them a favour by talking about them with your friends and family.

Inform yourself, read our Facebook posts and check reputable sites such as BirdLife Australia's OBP Page. By bringing awareness to these birds, we can help the public understand why it's so important that they be saved. 

We can all help save the Orange-bellied Parrot.

04 November 2014

Your comments needed!

The Draft Orange-bellied Parrot National Recovery Plan


Do you care about the Orange-bellied Parrot?

If you do, then here is the most important document you will read this year. As a PDF:
http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/d2aefeef-8225-4d05-a309-1af98293b606/files/orange-bellied-parrot-recovery-plan.pdf

Or as a Word document:
http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/d2aefeef-8225-4d05-a309-1af98293b606/files/orange-bellied-parrot-recovery-plan.docx

Public comment closes shortly (7 November) on the Draft National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot, a document crucial to the very existence of this critically endangered bird.

There's still time to respond to the actions proposed in the plan. And there's never been a better time to voice your concerns, particularly regarding the federal government's recent neglect of funding for OBP conservation.

The Fifth National Recovery Plan is an eye-opening summary of the situation at present, detailing the sad decline of this species (from about 150 between 1980-2005, to around 50 now). But it is also a detailed blueprint for action to address threats to the birds' survival, both short and long-term.

We have until 7 November to write our comments, voice our concerns and, hopefully, address the inertia and crushing lack of will on the part of our Commonwealth's environmental guardians. These little birds don't care who's in power; they're born survivors that just get on with living their busy lives. We need to speak for them!

Here's where to write:

Email: recoveryplans@environment.gov.au

Mail:
Terrestrial Species Conservation Section
Protected Species and Communities Branch
Wildlife, Heritage and Marine Division
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601


Points to consider
Please copy and paste the following into your response; feel free to add, subtract or adjust accordingly.


Introduction

I am extremely concerned about the long-term survival of the Orange-bellied Parrot. I believe that this species is a priceless part of our natural heritage and, for relatively small sums of money, we are capable of achieving a sustainable population in the wild. Furthermore, as custodians of our native flora and fauna, we have no choice: we are obliged to do so.


National Recovery Team

I wish to state my support for the Orange-bellied Parrot National Recovery Team, and believe the multi-disciplinary, multi-state National Recovery Team is the ideal instrument to implement this Fifth National Recovery Plan.


Captive population

I endorse the need for a large captive population, spread among as many breeding institutions as possible, supplying birds to supplement the wild population and acting as a stable insurance population in the event of the loss of the species in the wild. 


Funding

I am horrified that Australia's federal government has recently refused funding applications for crucial conservation work on this species. It is a national disgrace that there has been no federal funding for Orange-bellied Parrot work since mid-2013. 

I am saddened and disgusted that all four, previous recovery plans were never fully funded. Section 5.3 'Implementation costs' on pages 58-63 itemises each action in order of priority. I urge the federal government and the Minister for the Environment to fully fund each action of this Recovery Plan, so that we give this species the best possible chance of recovering in numbers. 

I urge the Minister for the Environment to consider private/public partnerships in conservation work, such as is done in New Zealand. The enormous public engagement with species like the Kakapo is achieved through funding by both government and corporations, enabling staff to create public awareness and goodwill towards the species. 

The recovery plan needs to be properly carried out, in a timely manner. To ensure this is done, the OBP Recovery Plan Coordinator position must be properly funded.  This is currently an absurdly under-resourced position, making the work of the incumbent almost impossible.

A part-time professional fundraiser must be appointed to work in conjunction with the OBP Recovery Team. Duties would be to investigate all avenues of sponsorship and apply for these in a timely manner. There are presently 5800 'fans' of the parrot on 'Save the Orange-bellied Parrot' on Facebook; and their goodwill should be drawn on. Crowdfunding and online fundraising avenues must be thoroughly explored. 


'Save the Orange-bellied Parrot'

Re 'Section 3.9 Social and economic benefits/impacts' (page 47). 'Save the Orange-bellied Parrot' is a Facebook Page that began in February, 2011. It now has over 5800 fans. Using Facebook and Twitter, the community of Orange-bellied Parrot stakeholders has expanded exponentially. I wish the following sentence to be added to the paragraph headed 'Social benefits' as follows:
More detailed engagement with the community includes a Facebook Page called 'Save the Orange-bellied Parrot'. Together with a Twitter feed, this exposure on social media is endorsed by but independent of the OBP Recovery Team. It aims to raise awareness of the Orange-bellied Parrot to an engaged social media community throughout the world, publishing details of the birds' life cycle in a timely manner. It actively fundraises from this strong supporter base, selling merchandise and conducting fundraising appeals.
OBP supporters on social networks deserve to be kept informed of all developments in the birds' life cycle.


Media

Contrary to the statement (page 47) that the Orange-bellied Parrot has 'a high public profile', I believe it to be one of the least-understood, most maligned of all our threatened species. Numerous news reports have concentrated less on explaining its plight, instead concentrating on its 'nuisance' value and its perceived ability to halt almost all coastal developments. Some examples of headlines:
Return of the nearly dead parrot: orange-belly holds up marina
Parrot flies in face of port plan
Higher wind turbines revive dead parrot issue
There is hostility to this species out of all proportion to its influence on planning and development. The National Recovery Team must continue to create media opportunities at timely moments of the life cycle, in order that news stories inform the public about the problems faced by this species, and of its priceless value.




23 June 2014

Mike McLean's Orange-bellied Parrot Art



Mike McLean relaxing in front of bus shelter with OBPs

Who is the Orange-bellied Parrot's greatest publicist? He's not a threatened species expert, a zookeeper or even a birdwatcher. Mike McLean has single-handedly brought thousands of people's attention to Australia's most endangered bird. He's done so with bold, bright art that grabs the attention and, hopefully, encourages the public to find out more.

Mid-career artist and teacher McLean hadn't even heard of the Orange-bellied Parrot until recently, although the bird was once a frequent winter visitor around the Bellarine Peninsula and the Surf Coast of Victoria, where he lives.

McLean was using bold colours for his successful, decorative portraits of women. Casting around for another subject, he hit on the Orange-bellied Parrot. The critically endangered bird was McLean's choice for a mural in Torquay, his home town. Said Mike:

The 'OBP' first came to my attention when I was looking for a colourful bird that was regional to me and also beautiful. When I saw that it was also endangered, I knew I could use the vehicle of my art to support a good cause.

With several projects completed - both temporary and permanent - and more planned, we can be assured of seeing the bright green, blue, yellow and orange of Orange-bellied Parrots in artworks around the Bellarine Peninsula, for a long time to come.

Drysdale bus shelters, Peninsula Drive, Drysdale


Launch 3rd April, 2014. Speakers included Richard Marles (federal Member for Corio), Craig Morley (Bellarine's OBP volunteer coordinator) and Councillor Andy Richards (City of Greater Geelong). Mike McLean third from left



Mike created 41 Orange-bellied Parrots across seven bus shelters, using stencils and hand painting the colours. He also depicted local parrot food sources such as beaded glasswort (above).

Approximately 2000 schoolchildren from three high schools in the precinct - St Thomas's, St Ignatius and Diversitat - use these shelters daily. The schools have been provided with pamphlets explaining the meaning and importance of the birds.

Over ten painting sessions, Mike was assisted by his students from Diversitat Youth Education, a Geelong service providing education and training for disadvantaged youth.






'Mobile' flock

Representatives of  Bellarine Catchment Network, City of Greater Geelong, Diversitat Community Services & Potato Shed Arts Centre at launch, 3rd April 2014
Mike created another 36 Orange-bellied Parrots on large corflute cut-outs (corrugated plastic). These are designed to be fastened to fences, walls and signs on a temporary basis. McLean received support from a building site, a residential housing developer and a school and fastened his 'flock' of big parrots for two weeks at a time on those properties. He said:
I am really happy with the way they have come out and with the public's response so far. I've received great support from the public and from local industries in realising my vision.
Building site, Geelong

Torquay College, Torquay

Drysdale bus shelter in progress




Earlier works


Torquay Primary School (2013)




Torquay Veterinary Clinic, 29 Surfcoast Highway, Torquay (2013)


Mike told the Geelong Echo he wanted the wall to be a feature in Torquay. The mural is 'cool and dynamic', with the birds seeming to fly across the building towards the highway. Painting the parrot was done in order to increase its profile and raise awareness of its plight.

It's also designed to keep graffiti taggers away! 'Murals always put taggers off,' said McLean. 'If they like it, they won't tag it, out of respect.'




Why Orange-bellied Parrots?


Why is Mike McLean interested in painting these beautiful, endangered birds? He says: 
Birds are a nice break from faces for me. They're also good because they have developed from my work with disengaged youth in the region.
Birds are a great theme. People gravitate towards them and have positive memories and opinions of them.  

Mike will install another, large public commission featuring Orange-bellied Parrots in July, 2014. Visit Save the Orange-bellied Parrot on Facebook to stay informed.



Mike McLean & Orange-bellied Parrot links



Facebook: Mike McLean Artist

Instagram: @mikemcleanartist

Instagram tag: #orangebelliedparrot







16 April 2014

2014 Winter Surveys

Dates: 17/18 May, 26/27 July, 13/14 September


Volunteer Coordinators

Photo: Steve Davidson, Victoria, 2012


Surveying is one of the most important things people can do to help the Orange-bellied Parrot, and everyone is welcome. Here are the contact details of the winter survey coordinators for 2014.

The map below shows winter survey areas in South Australia and Victoria.

Depending on the location, surveyors search saltmarshes, dunes, paddocks, estuaries and sewage farms for OBPs. This helps our scientists understand what habitats they use on the mainland, which guides land management for the OBP.

Everyone is welcome, from beginners to experienced birdwatchers. You will be given guidelines and tips, and placed in groups with various levels of expertise.

Please read Birdlife Australia's Search Tips & Techniques guide and this brochure on identifying the Orange-bellied Parrot.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Region 1: Murray Lakes/Coorong incl Lake Alexandrina, Lake Albert
Region 2: South-east South Australia. From Kingston to SA/VIC border
Contact Bob Green shriketit@bigpond.com
VICTORIA

Region 3: south-west Victoria from the South Australia/Victorian border to Princetown
Contact David Williams davidwilliams503@gmail.com Ph 0419 190 349

Region 4: Bellarine Peninsula & Surf Coast
Contact Craig Morley craigmorley5@bigpond.com

Region 5: Port Phillip Bay
Contact Steve Davidson steve.davidson@birdlife.org.au

Region 6: Westernport Bay/Bass Coast
Contact Jon Fallaw jfallaw@penguins.org.au Ph 0439 825 872

Survey dates:

17/18 May
26/27 July
13/14 September

Areas to be surveyed in South Australia and Victoria




23 August 2013

Federal election 2013

This letter aims to gauge our politicians' attitude to threatened species funding. Please send it to your local candidates. When you receive a reply, let us know via email (orangebellied.parrot@gmail.com) or private message on Facebook, and we will publish the results just before the election.

Please also send it to the Minister for the Environment, Mark Butler: Mark.Butler.MP@aph.gov.au
and to the Shadow Minister for the Environment, 
Greg Hunt: Greg.Hunt.MP@aph.gov.au

For local candidates, first find your electorate: http://apps.aec.gov.au/esearch/
Find the contact details of your local candidates:

Then copy and paste this letter into an email and send. Feel free to add your own words. Don't forget to delete these instructions!


Dear  ...............

As a constituent of .................... and a lover of Australia's native wildlife,  I wish to draw your attention to the issue of threatened species.  

The Senate Environment and Communications References Committee recently handed down its report, 'Effectiveness of threatened species and ecological communities' protection in Australia'. 

Addressing the Committee, Mr Peter Cosier (Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists) said:

...biodiversity conservation is not being taken seriously in this country. To have 1,790 [EPBC listed] species in Australia in 2013 ... suggests it has been a complete failure.

We are all diminished by biodiversity loss - and not just because it is our moral obligation to save all threatened species. Professor Stephen Garnett of Charles Darwin University has written:

..there is increasing evidence that biodiversity loss has an influence on ecosystem service provision on a par with drought, ozone loss, acidification and climate warming. Species conservation is an investment in natural capital that provides enormous returns.

In other words, without our rich heritage of living creatures and plants, our land will gradually become unliveable for us. In addition, we should consider the burgeoning value of nature tourism to our economy, which is immeasurably enhanced by the presence of rare and threatened species.

Unfortunately, it is evident that recovery plans for threatened species and ecological communities are not implemented or given sufficient funding to be properly implemented. A well-resourced funding stream for threatened species recovery is crucial to the future of Australia's birds, animals and plants. BirdLife Australia has suggested that all 20 of our critically endangered birds could be saved with the expenditure of as little as $380,000 each. Threatened species funding for all animals, plants and birds is currently $3 million per annum - less than one per cent of our weekly defence budget. This is a massive imbalance.

As a first-world country, we must improve on our dismal record of species extinctions. BirdLife Australia recommended to the Committee that threatened species investment  must not only be increased, but be guaranteed over sufficiently long periods to allow recovery. They suggested funding be provided for up to eight years at a time with independent review and potential extension after four years.

I am gravely worried about the future of animals like Leadbeater's Possum and the Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby and, particularly, Australia's most endangered bird, the Orange-bellied Parrot, which has plummeted to fewer than 50. Even worse, ALL funding for recovery work on this parrot this summer has been discontinued. There is no longer any state or Commonwealth funding to undertake research or management in the parrot's Tasmanian breeding grounds.  I am ashamed to live in a country with so little regard for this priceless part of our natural world.

There is no doubt that funds for Australia's threatened species are finite and that, for the time being, many do not contribute to local economies. But we are undeniably entrusted with a responsibility not to let the Orange-bellied Parrot or any other species slip away.

I urge you to act so that your party adopts all 44 of the Committee's recommendations, in particular Recommendations  29 and 30:

·       that the Commonwealth government adjusts current funding under the Biodiversity Fund and Caring for our Country to provide targeted funding streams for threatened species and ecological communities. This dedicated funding should include funding for implementation of specific actions within recovery plans, conservation advices and threat abatement plans and advices;

·       In light of the evidence that feral animals and fire regimes are two of the biggest threats to threatened species and communities, the committee recommends that funding programs give high priority to on-ground projects addressing feral animals and fire regimes.

I will not vote for the representative of a party that supports the current, inadequate status quo. I would like you, if elected (or re-elected) to represent my views on threatened species, and help bring about a quantum increase in threatened species funding.

Please answer the following questions:
1. What is your attitude to threatened species?
2. Will you act to influence Parliament to adopt the Senate Environment and                Communications References Committee's recommendations on threatened species protection?
3. Will you publicly advocate for threatened species?
4. If (re)elected, will you work to strengthen and implement effective legislation and governance to ensure protection of threatened species?
5. Will you act to ensure adequate funding for all Australian threatened species, as suggested by the abovementioned Committee's recommendations? 
6. How will you remedy the current suspension in funds for Orange-bellied Parrot management, research and captive-release work?

Threatened species recovery is an important issue for me and will influence my vote. The very existence of too many creatures is at stake, and in the 21st century, this is both wholly preventable and most regrettable.

Thank you for your time in responding to these questions. An early response will help me consider your views when I decide how to vote.



20 June 2013

Orange-bellied T-shirts (and hoodies, and stickers)

How to buy a t-shirt, hoodie or sticker from our Redbubble site

We've sold lots of Orange-bellied Parrot t-shirts, hoodies and stickers on Redbubble. And with all profits going toward conservation of OBPs, it's a great way to contribute to the cause.

But the site can be a bit difficult to navigate at first. It's easy (and lots of fun) once you know how. This post will guide you on how to buy your very own OBP duds, so you can wear your love for OBPs on your sleeve, so to speak. 

First things first. How to find us? On Redbubble, our name is 'OBparrot'. To go to the OBparrot page:  http://www.redbubble.com/people/obparrot. Or go to Redbubble http://www.redbubble.com, click inside the 'Search' box and type 'OBparrot'.

Shown is the 'Profile' page. 


Each square OBP picture represents one of the four products on offer. You don't need to remember what's what - just run your mouse over the pictures and a caption will pop up.

For example, if you run your mouse over the Orange-bellied Parrot in the top left corner, this caption comes up: 'Orange-bellied Parrot t-shirt (dark) by OBparrot', as shown.

At the moment, the grey square under the black square is for 'Orange-bellied Parrot t-shirt (light)'. [The default colours for all the squares will change from time to time for Facebook purposes. But each square will always represent the same product.]

You'll notice t-shirts with light and dark backgrounds are separate items. Why?

The difference between light and dark


It's because of the text. We wanted the slogan 'Save the Orange-bellied Parrot' in black with 'Orange-bellied' in orange. This was fine to use with light coloured t-shirts such as white or pale blue.

However, lots of people wanted dark coloured t-shirts such as black and dark blue. The black text wouldn't appear at all! So our artist created a different design, using white and orange text.

Therefore your first decision is whether you want a dark or light shirt.

Which product to choose?


If you want a dark background t-shirt, click on the OBP in the top left corner, as in the example.

If you want a light background t-shirt, click on the OBP in the square at bottom left.

If you want something for a baby or a child up to 12 years, click on the middle picture, top row.

And if you want some cool OBP stickers, click on the OBP on the right of the top row.

The ordering process


Suppose you want a black t-shirt. Here's how the screen will look:


Next, pick a colour from the squares at top right (circled). When you click each colour, the torso on screen will magically wear that colour, so you can see how it will look. Make your choice.

Now, pick a style. In the box headed 'STYLE', look for 'T-Shirt'. Click on the small arrow to the right.

Here's where it gets interesting. T-shirts are available in four styles:

  • Women's fit t-shirts - tighter fitting and with slightly scooped neckline. Called 'Girly Fit'
  •  Unisex - loose-fit t-shirt;
  •  Three-quarter sleeve has two-tone, contrasting sleeves
  •  V-neck  
There's also:  
  • long-sleeved shirts (think sloppy joe) and
  • hoodies (zip or pullover).
Organic cotton is available as an option, although the colour choices are smaller.


Note: the range of colours varies, depending on the style. Many popular colours aren't available at all because they just don't look right with our OBP. We tried them but yellow, orange and red backgrounds looked pretty silly.

This example shows a black, Girly Fit t-shirt:


Next, click on your size, as shown:

We recommend checking your size in the Sizing Chart, located on the far right, half way down (circled, below). It gives actual measurements in inches and centimetres.

For more information, washing instructions, sizing, etc, click on 'T-Shirts & Hoodies Info' (circled, below, bottom).

Just to vary the look of this blog, we've changed the example's colour and style. This is 'T-shirt' in 'Blue'. Once you've had a play with the site, you'll see how easy it is to change around.

Now, at last, you can click on 'ADD TO CART' (black checkmark) and you're well on your way to owning a fabulous item of OBP apparel.

Choose 'Paypal' or 'Checkout Now' and fill in your details. If you've made a mistake, click on the square OBP picture corresponding to the item you want to change and go back to editing it.

If you want to remove an item, click 'Edit Cart'.


Click the 'x' corresponding to the item you want removed.


Choose your payment method, fill out your details, take a big breath and wait. Any day now (technically, between three and ten business days), a lovely cardboard parcel will be delivered to your door.

Congratulations on buying an OBP shirt. You'll be the envy of all your friends and should wear it with pride, happy in the knowledge you've done your bit to raise awareness of Australia's favourite critically endangered, priceless little jewel of a bird.

Note: you'll undoubtedly be stopped in the street. Don't forget to tell people all about the birds, and about Save the Orange-bellied Parrot on Facebook. Zzzt!