Success for the green parrot fostering program

The male green parrot feeds his new foster chicks

Two trials of green parrot fostering have been very succesful in Norfolk Island National Park.

Last year we found a nest of five chicks with two very small females failing to thrive because their older and much bigger brothers were getting most of the food. We decided to try a fostering program, and moved the two larger males to another active nest site - where they would be cared for by another pair of green parrots.

The male at the new site quickly adopted the two chicks, and all the chicks in the nest fledged successfully. And it gave the female chicks in the original nest a much greater chance of survival.

Ranger Joel Christian and Dr. Luis Ortiz-Catedral weigh and measure a chick before it goes into foster care

With that success under our belts the decision to trial fostering again was easy. Late last year we found a nest that was at risk of predation from cats and rats. Usually we would make some adjustments to the site to stop predators getting in but there was no way to do that while it was being used – as it would put the three chicks inside at great risk.

This time we took a female chick from the site and placed her in a safe nesting site that was being attended by another pair of green parrots. The new parents adopted their new daughter so quickly she didn’t even lose any weight during the transition!

There are 78 known nesting sites for the endangered green parrot in the park, and we monitor them once a month for signs of nesting activity. Active nests are then monitored once a week so we can identify when problems arise – and quickly step in to help.

Abi Smith, natural resource manager, Norfolk Island National Park