Happy ending for nesting green parrot

Ranger Ken Christian checks a predator-proof green parrot nest for signs of nesting activity | Image by Luis Ortiz-Catedral

Natural resource manager Abi Smith with one of the newly-banded chicks | Image by Cassie Jones

We’ve just finished a tricky repair job on a green parrot nest - with a vulnerable parrot sitting inside on one already laid egg. The nest was in the bottom of a cordyline, and perfect except that it was open to predation by rats and cats - one of the biggest threats to green parrot survival.

The nest desperately needed protecting, so we immediately set to work preparing materials, and made the repairs the next day.

It’s vital not to disturb the female while she’s nesting as a fright may cause her to abandon her eggs. So we hid in the bushes and waited, watching the site. When a female green parrot is nesting, the male goes off in search of food - returning at regular intervals to ‘call’ the female off the nest for a feed. She will usually answer his calls about one in every three or four times so the wait can be long when you’re sitting under a tree staring at a tree hollow! It sometimes takes two to three hours for her to leave the nest. Luckily for us it only took an hour and a half. The female flew off the nest and up into the trees to be fed by her partner and we quickly went to work.

As we got closer we could see she had laid another egg overnight - however, after predator-proofing the nest she wouldn’t return inside. Although that was an unfortunate outcome it was a certain death-trap without the protection we added.

Happily, a few days later we discovered she had laid the remainder of her clutch (four more eggs) in a nearby nest site that was already predator-proofed! Three of the eggs hatched and the chicks fledged in great condition.

The original nest site has since shown some signs that it is being checked out by more parrots so we hope one will make it her new nest soon.

Abi, Norfolk Island National Park