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People asked to report sightings of bright parrot

People asked to report sightings of bright parrot

Thursday 28 July 2005

Bay of Plenty people are urged to report sightings of a brightly coloured parrot, which is damaging horticultural crops in the region.

Environment Bay of Plenty urgently wants to find out more about a pest bird called the Eastern Rosella – and staff need your help to do so.

The Eastern Rosella is a large, vividly coloured bird, with red head and breast. It has a loud, carrying call. Pest animal coordinator David Moore says these distinctive birds appear to be increasing in number, especially around Katikati and Rotorua. “Orchardists are complaining that they are ripping fruit off their fruit trees and causing quite a lot of damage. We’ve heard of flocks of hundreds flying around Katikati but haven’t been able to verify that. We actually have no real idea of how many are out there, or where they are located. We just know they seem to be more of a nuisance.”

Mr Moore says the regional council needs to gather proper data on the pest’s distribution and number. He asks people who sight Eastern Rosellas over the next few weeks to help by calling a freephone number, 0508 ROSELLA (767 355). “We want to know how many you saw and where and when you saw them. That’s all. It will only take a few moments of your time and we would really really appreciate it.”

Environment Bay of Plenty is publishing advertisements in regional newspapers over the first two weeks of August to encourage people to contact the number with information. It will be a short, sharp hit of promotion, Mr Moore explains. “We don’t want to spread it out too long, as we would then have problems with doubling up on numbers as the parrots fly around the region.”

Eastern Rosellas are logged as a Surveillance Pest Animal in Environment Bay of Plenty’s regional pest management strategy, along with magpies, mynahs and wasps. Often, pests are in this category because not enough is known about their distribution, threat or the feasibility of controlling them.

Eastern Rosellas (Platycerus eximius) are Australian parrots that first established in Dunedin around 1910 and later around Auckland in the 1970s. They are larger and much more colourful than native parakeets, with red head and breast and white cheek patches, a scalloped yellow-green back, pale green rump and yellow and green belly. Their outer flight feathers are blue. They have a loud, carrying call and swift undulating flight. Their average size is 330mm.

The Eastern Rosella feeds on a wide range of seeds, berries, fruits and blossoms.

ENDS


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