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August 26

Sam Williams, PhD | Aug 26, 2006


The list of things left to do is thankfully getting shorter and wrapping up the project work is going well. This week we tried catching parrots in some high fruit trees with suspended traps but it didn’t work. We also tried catching them by a nest site and we had actually got pictures of the birds inside that particular trap using a motion sensing digital camera. It was a long shot as the chicks have finally left the nest and it didn’t come to anything. I waited in a fabric hide from 6:30 till 9:30 and there wasn’t a single parrot in the area. From around 8am onwards I was being baked as the sun rose higher in the sky. Ro and I will put in only one more morning at a trap beneath a native fruit tree where the birds have been going. After that last effort we’re done with trying to get em!

So the chicks that left the nest… The last time I measured them they were still not as big as the other chicks had been just before fledging. Then the next time I visited there, which was to trap the adults only 4 days later, I quickly glanced down the nest and saw a chick’s head. I didn’t look for more than one as that was enough to know the parents would be visiting, and as I understood it none of the three were ready to fledge. I got in the hide and waited. Then an hour or more later the parents arrived and almost straight away the chick fledged and they all left the area. So then I took a good look down the nest and realised there were no chicks left, and that I had no idea which chick that had been.

The other two chicks either fledged in quick succession at smaller sizes than all the other chicks or they were poached. I need to look over the chick data I have collected this season but I’m not convinced they did indeed fledge. The time period I think is much too short but again I need to review the data collected from the other nests and that won’t be until Sheffield. As for going out and seeing if we can find the chicks in the area and note their rings, well that’s just not an option at this point simply because of the time required and the fact at this point we have no idea where the chicks go post fledging. We can only hope that in future seasons we come across those chicks with their unique ring colour combinations but for the moment it remains a bit of a mystery.