Together with Ashaley Ross, Olkola Alwal Project Manager, I travelled to Darwin recently to attend the 2019 Australian Ornithological Conference.
The conference attracted national and international researchers, Indigenous rangers, land managers, recovery teams, government and non-government representatives. There were fascinating presentations about the latest efforts in bird conservation and research from across the country and it was a really valuable networking opportunity for us. We were able to learn a lot from the amazing efforts of other recovery teams and conservation research programs.
Ashaley Ross presented on behalf of Olkola Aboriginal Corporation about Olkola’s landscape-scale conservation project to save Alwal, the Golden-shouldered Parrot, in partnership with Bush Heritage Australia.
Ashaley detailed the threats to the parrot that Olkola are managing now that they have Country returned to them as the Traditional Owners of most of the northern population of Alwal.
Some of these threats were shown in a video that Olkola and Bush Heritage produced from monitoring camera photos of a nest recorded in 2017. Ash finished his talk with video footage of this nest as it clearly demonstrates the threats facing these beautiful birds – unmanaged cattle, predatory birds advantaged by woody thickening due to fire and overgrazing, feral cats (evident at this nest but not seen in the footage) and natural predators such as goannas.
Ash explained to conference delegates:
“This video is from a nest we monitored in 2017. I chose this nest to show you because even though Alwal has to deal with many threats – cattle, pigs, cats, predatory birds and even goannas – the parents always come back. They never give up on their chicks. And we will never give up on Alwal.
Now Olkola have Country back, we are actively managing these threats to this endangered species. Working with Bush Heritage, we won’t give up on Alwal just like Alwal never gives up on their nest. We know that in spite of everything they were up against the parents always returned so two chicks were still able to successfully fledge from this nest – so that is a success story.”
Ashaley travelled to Darwin for the conference through the kind support of AOC.