Night Parrot science: As exciting as watching grass grow!

Published 21 May 2018 
about  Pullen Pullen Reserve  
<br/>

Last year in another blog post I posed the question – “Do we really need to put a fence on a property that was purchased to protect a bird?” The answer is yes, otherwise we wouldn't do it. For the benefit of the Night Parrot we are Fencing in the Food. (And at the same time we've removed internal fences that no longer serve a purpose.)

But isn’t there grass everywhere across pastoral properties for the Night Parrot to eat? Well yes and no. And that is why Al Healy, a PhD Student at University of Queensland, has been working at answering the question “What is the response of vegetation to rainfall in an arid environment like Pullen Pullen Reserve, and is the productivity and response of the vegetation improved by the removal of cattle?” By observing the response to rainfall events of the food plant species of the Night Parrot, Al is mapping how food and water resources vary in the landscape. Understanding this is critical for our management of key areas of this very large reserve.

Al always jokes that his PhD is as exciting as watching grass grow! And to demonstrate how utterly fascinating this is he has created this video using all of the photos captured at one of his sites from December 2017 through to March 2018. And voila, an enticing visual treat for parrots! Now instead of all those seeds being munched by fat cows it’s all available to the Night Parrot, at a fast food outlet we're calling the McFloodplains.

Conservation is a slow process but by partnering with research students like Al Healy it means our role as land management is informed by the best and most innovative science available.

The transformation of the McFloodplains – for hungry, hungry parrots.