Tropical parrot drives English combine harvester


This video is called Birds of Peru: Blue and yellow macaws – Ara ararauna.

Blue-and-yellow macaws are a big South American parrot species. I saw them flying in their native Suriname; and in Avifauna zoo.

Recently, one made news headlines in England.

From the South West News Service:

Farmers stunned after finding lost parrot… that started steering their COMBINE HARVESTER

August 21, 2013

Two farmers who picked up an exotic bird in a field where stunned after it started steering – their COMBINE HARVESTER.

Farm workers Mark Wells and Andrew Barber, both 40, were harvesting wheat when they spotted a flash of bright color.

The pair jumped off their vehicle and were surprised to see a macaw among the stalks, which they assumed must be a lost pet.

The lost macaw found by farmers Mark Wells and Andrew Barber pictured as it started driving their combine harvester

They lifted the bird back into the cab of their combine and started up the engine.

Mark and Andrew were then amazed when the bird sat on Andrew’s lap and clamped hold of the wheel in his beak – and started steering.

The creature directed the combine all the way across the field and back to the farmers’ truck.

After being so struck with the macaw they nicknamed Rio, Mark decided to take the bird home until its owners can be traced.

Mark’s wife, Georgie Wells, 38, said: “It was amazing. They couldn’t beli[e]ve it when Rio started steering.

“It’s odd enough to find a bird like that just hopping around a field in England. But to stumble across a bird which can steer a combine harvester is crazy.

“Needless to say we haven’t been able to stop laughing about it. Rio is a naturally operator, maybe he can have a job on the farm?”

Rio was spotted in the evening at around 5pm as Mr Barber and Mr Andrews were finishing up for the day at the farm.

Mark and George, who are contractors working on George E Gittus & Sons farm, said the bird was clearly hungry and dehydrated.

He stayed with the Wells at their home in Horringer, Suffolk, from Friday until Monday – where he was given their SPARE ROOM.

Mark and Georgie, who have two children, then took the exotic bird to a vet to be checked over, then handed him to a specialist breeder in the area who has an aviary.

Mrs Wells said: “Rio was shy at first, but soon began to fly around the house, where he began to repeatedly say ‘hello’ and ‘hi’ to everyone.

“He stayed in the spare room until we could take him to a local parrot handler. In the meantime we fed him treats like banana and peanut butter on toast.”

Farmers Mark and Andrew were packing wheat when they spotted the lost macaw.

They were stunned when the bird latched his beak onto the wheel and steered the Claas lexion 600 combine harvester for 20 minutes.

Mark said: “Andrew saw Rio before I did and I thought he’d gone mad when he said there was a multicoloured bird in the field.

“The macaw tried to steal the combine harvester.

“He latched onto Andrew’s leg and wouldn’t let go like he was trying to pull him off the combine.

“We picked it up and got him onto the combine harvester with us. We managed to get him off Andrew’s leg and onto his lap.

“He then latched his beak onto the steering wheel and refused to let go for twenty minutes as we drove around the field.

“Andrew took his hands off the steering wheel and let Rio steer us. We were in hysterics and just couldn’t stop laughing.

“Andrew has been saying he wants a hands free for a while – maybe now he’s found it.

“We got to try parrot steering instead of power steering.”

Cockatoos solve puzzle


This video says about itself:

July 3, 2013

A species of Indonesian parrot can solve complex mechanical problems that involve undoing a series of locks one after another, revealing new depths to physical intelligence in birds.

A team of scientists from Oxford University, the University of Vienna, and the Max Planck Institute, report in PLOS ONE a study in which ten untrained Goffin’s cockatoos [Cacatua goffini] faced a puzzle box showing food (a nut) behind a transparent door secured by a series of five different interlocking devices, each one jamming the next along in the series.

See also ScienceDaily on this.

And here.

And here.

And here.

Rare Australian night parrot rediscovered


This video from Australia says about itself:

The Night Parrot – Flying back from the brink

May 6, 2009

The Night Parrot (Pezoporos occidentalis) is one of Australia’s ‘lost’ species. It was first discovered in 1845, and named in 1861. But since that time numbers have dwindled and sightings have been so rare that the bird was at one stage thought to be extinct. We hope you enjoy this short presentation. CFZ Australia

From Wildlife Extra:

Night parrot, the Holy Grail of Australian birding, has been found

Night Parrot emerges from the shadows

July 2013. Legendary Australian naturalist John Young has apparently found the holy grail of Australian bird watching, the elusive and long-sought after Night parrot. Young has, he claims, several photos and even a short video of the bird. He has not yet revealed the location of the sightings as it would no doubt create a great rush to see the bird.

Night parrot

In September 2006, Robert ‘Shorty’ Cupitt, the ranger-on-duty of Diamantina National Park in south-west Queensland, was grading an interior road of the reserve when the blade of his vehicle exposed the yellow underbelly of a bird he didn’t recognise. It was a deceased Night Parrot – only the second specimen to be found in nearly 100 years, coming after the celebrated discovery of a road killed bird south of nearby Boulia in 1990.

There has always been some controversy over the bird’s existence, and it has been thought on at least one occasion that the Night parrot might have become extinct (If it had ever existed). It is thought to live in some extremely remote locations in Queensland, and for the population to number no more than 250 birds.

BirdLife Australia congratulates John Young for obtaining the first ever photographs of the elusive Night Parrot. Long regarded as the ghost bird of the outback, there has been no definitive evidence of live Night Parrots since the 1880s.

Critically Endangered

“The Night Parrot is one of 12 Australian parrots listed as endangered or critically endangered, meaning that without action they are at high risk of extinction”, said Samantha Vine, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Australia.

Threats

“Once this sighting is confirmed, it is vital that swift action be taken to ensure the conservation of this unique species”, Vine added. “The known threats to the Night Parrot of predation by cats and degradation of habitat by land clearing, fire and feral animals now need to be managed through the implementation of a species Recovery Plan.”

The Night Parrot is the holy grail of bird watching and while every bird watcher will want to see this bird, BirdLife Australia respects the decision to not publicly divulge the location as welfare of the birds is paramount.

For further information on the Night Parrot see the Birdlife fact sheet.

A LIVE NIGHT PARROT has reportedly been photographed in western Queensland for the first time since the species was discovered more than 150 years ago: here.

This video from Australia says about itself:

Jan 6, 2013

Trailer for the forthcoming film Glimpses And Specimens From The Land Of The Night Parrot.

Here is another night parrot video.

Night parrot: tantalising clues revealed: here.

See also here.

The Night Parrot Saga Continues: here.

Ring-necked parakeets flying


This video from the USA says about itself:

Deanna Dee

The largest North American population of naturalized Rose-ringed Parakeets, Psittacula krameri, lives in Bakersfield, CA.

This is video I took of this Parakeet in the tree in my backyard today. I am Blessed with these BEAUTIFUL birds every day. ENJOY!

This morning, a group of six ring-necked parakeets (aka: rose-ringed parakeets) flew past my window, calling.

Dutch ring-necked parakeets


This video is about wild ring-necked parakeets in the Netherlands.

Ring-necked parakeets are originally from Africa and Asia.

Some of them, held as cage birds in the Netherlands, escaped.

In the 2011-2012 winter, ornithologists counted the parakeets at ten sleeping roosts, according to Dutch journal Natura (2013, #2, p. 9).

There were 11,657 birds. The biggest roost was on the island in the Hofvijver, in The Hague city centre: 4,135 ring-necked parakeets.

Kakapo parrot voted world’s favourite animal


This video, recorded in New Zealand, is called The Unnatural History of the Kakapo.

From ARKive:

What’s the World’s Favourite Species?

It’s ARKive’s 10th birthday and to mark the occasion, you’ve been joining us in your thousands from 162 different countries to help us find the world’s top ten favourite species. The results are in! The species that were most frequently voted as favourites by you can now be revealed…

The array of life with which we share our planet provides an endless source of wonder, so for many of you the decision was tough. But which species was voted the World’s Favourite? Here are a few clues:

The most frequently selected reason for voting this species as your favourite was “because it’s under threat and we need to protect it”.
It is active at night…
It has feathers… but it can’t fly!

Also from ARKIve:

No.1 Kakapo

The magnificent kakapo stole 9% of the total votes. It’s a beautiful bird that cannot fly and is only found in New Zealand. But from the many thousands of creatures with which we share our precious planet, what made the kakapo stand out from the crowd? For most of you, tragically, it was the kakapo’s Critically Endangered status. We hope the title of World’s Favourite Species will bring it the attention it deserves.

Kakapo facts

The kakapo is the world’s only flightless parrot.
Unusual for a bird, the kakapo is only active at night.
As well as being the world’s largest parrot, the kakapo is also the heaviest.

The rest of the Top 10:

2. Tiger
3. African elephant
4. Grey wolf
5. Polar bear
6. Red panda
7. Cheetah
8. Snow leopard
9. Bornean orangutan
10. Amur leopard

Good Australian parrot news


This video from Australia is called Critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot.

From Wildlife Extra:

Encouraging breeding season for Critically Endangered Orange-bellied parrot

At least 23 fledglings counted in Tasmania

March 2013. According to Mark Holdsworth, Tasmanian Recovery Program Coordinator for the Orange Bellied Parrot, volunteers at Melalueca, where the entire population of Orange-bellied parrots spend the winter, have spotted 4 unbanded juvenile parrots together at the feedtable. With 19 juveniles already banded , this means there are now at least 23 juvenile birds this season and possibly more. Considering there were 14 juveniles last year, this is very encouraging news for the species survival in the wild.

Wild birds breeding

“The other news during the 2012 breeding season was encouraging, with all known adult females participating in breeding at Melaleuca and at least 14 young fledging. The team decided it wasn’t necessary for any more wild birds to be taken into captivity this year as part of the Captive Breeding program.”

Captive breeding

“The successful captive breeding program, based at Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, as well as at other facilities in Tasmania, NSW and South Australia, now has more than 200 birds and the team is considering the possibility of a release of captive-bred birds in the near future.”

The Orange-bellied Parrot is a migratory bird, which breeds only in coastal south-west Tasmania and spends the winter in coastal Victoria and South Australia.

The Orange-bellied Parrot National Recovery Team consists of representatives of the Commonwealth, Victorian, Tasmanian and South Australian governments, Zoos Victoria, Adelaide Zoo, Birdlife Australia, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust and threatened species experts.

To get the latest update, go to the Orange-bellied parrot Facebook page.

Marsh tits, parakeets, starlings and sanderlings


On 16 February 2013, to Meijendel nature reserve.

Before we departed, the song thrush singing in a parking lot treetop. A carrion crow drove it away to sit on the treetop itself.

At the Meijendel parking lot, jackdaws and rooks on trees. A chaffinch on the ground.

A blackbird. A great tit.

Then, a special bird. A marsh tit. It moves so fast among the branches that it is impossible to make good photographs of it.

Ring-necked parakeets, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

Next, a ring-necked parakeet couple. Less and less of these parrots are by now in the big flocks sleeping, eg, on the island in the pond of The Hague city centre. Ring-necked parakeets nest early in the year. The two birds here inspect whether a hole in a tree is fit for a nest. They seem to like it.

Starling, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

Much to the disappointment of a starling couple, which would have liked to nest there as well.

Ring-necked parakeet female, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

There are still icy patches on the footpaths.

At the hide, the water in the lake is still frozen. One of us speaks about seeing a bittern in the reed beds, but it may be wishful thinking. Others think they hear cranes. Wishful thinking as well? Is the sound really geese?

Another starling couple. This time with a nest hole which is unambiguously theirs.

Starling singing, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

The male spreads his wings and sings.

Starling sitting, Meijendel, 16 February 2013

A bit further, two marsh tits. A blue tit.

The next lake is mostly frozen as well. A lone coot swims in the open water part.

Three Canada geese flying over head. They land in one of few ice-free lakes, south of the path to the sea. A female common pochard.

A dunnock singing.

This looks like a good spot for counting birds in my fifteen minutes for the international Great Backyard Bird Count, organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA.

In these fifteen minutes, 10:36 to 10:51, I count: one female common pochard. Nine mallards. Ten great cormorants. Two mute swans. Fifteen coots. One dunnock. One great tit.

Then, on to the far western dunes, where one has a view of the sea. Over twenty sanderlings. Some resting; some running frantically along the floodline.

Three oystercatchers. Scores of adult and juvenile herring gulls.

Two great crested grebes swimming in the sea.

As we walk back, a buzzard sitting on a bush. Later, a kestrel flying.

Tulostoma fimbriatum fungi. A species which does not mind winter cold as much as many other fungi species.

Dutch Amsterdam feral parakeets


Once more, about the feral parakeets in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

This morning, the city ecologist said there are now about 3,000 ring-necked parakeets, and 100 Alexandrine parakeets in Amsterdam.

This is a video of a ring-necked parakeet nest in the Vondelpark, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

In autumn and (early) winter, ring-necked parakeets gather in big flocks of hundreds or thousands of birds to sleep together in trees. Now, these flocks are getting smaller; as ring-necked parakeets nest early. They are dispersing to find good nesting sites.

This video is about ring-necked parakeets and Alexandrine parakeets in the Oosterpark in Amsterdam.

Alexandrine parakeets are about 10cm bigger than ring-necked parakeets. They also have bigger bills and darker neck-rings.