News

Mobile Landcare group homes in on parrot

By Country News

A total of 180 new homes have been built for threatened turquoise parrots which have lost much of their natural habitat — tree hollows.

The Victorian Mobile Landcare Group constructed the new homes which will complement the 380 nest boxes already installed across the Warby Ranges and Chesney Vale area.

Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s Janice Mentiplay-Smith said as its name suggested, the VMLG had no fixed address.

‘‘Rather, the group’s members move about the state helping other environmental groups and agencies, whether it’s with tree planting, nest box monitoring, repairing signage, bird surveys or building turquoise parrot nest boxes like they did on the weekend, with the beautiful Warby Ranges in the background,’’ Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

Group members worked and camped at Boweya Community Centre, a former primary school that has been restored and turned into a hub by the community.

‘‘It was marvellous to have such a motivated, keen group travel up from the outer eastern area of Melbourne to help us here, in the heartland of turquoise parrot country,’’ Ms Mentiplay-Smith said.

Because of the loss of natural tree hollows, custom-designed nest boxes with notches or ‘ladders’ on one side of the box so the parrots can crawl out, are placed on trees in open woodlands to provide suitable habitat.

Turquoise parrots only eat seeds, meaning preserving habitat containing seed-bearing plants is another important part of the project, along with revegetating key habitat areas and linking and protecting patches of remnant native vegetation.

■For more information, email Janice Mentiplay-Smith at: janicem@gbcma.vic.gov.au or phone 5764 7506.