Skip to content

The fine art of fencing Night Parrots

Dr Alex Kutt (Ecologist)
Published 14 Feb 2017 by Dr Alex Kutt (Ecologist)

Fencing is a key activity on most of our Bush Heritage reserves, and many of our volunteers and donors can attest to the joy of putting them up, or more often, pulling them down.

Fences are vital infrastructure that keep feral herbivores out, and help manage their impacts on vegetation and critical habitats. At Pullen Pullen Reserve this poses a conundrum. We want to keep any stray herbivores out to protect the floodplains – which are significant feeding locations for the Night Parrot – but there's a small risk that a new barrier could create an unexpected obstacle for this species.

After advice from the Night Parrot Recovery Team, we decided to fit the new fencing with white electric tape (aka horse tape).

This 40mm bright white tape runs along the top of the new fence to create a highly visible barrier. On top of this, bright orange flags are placed every 100m as a bit of extra flappy bird deterrent.

This fence is already constructed in a typically wildlife-friendly manner – only three strands with the top wire plain. A few weeks ago I went along with Matt Warr (Reserve Manager Ethabuka) and braved three days during one of the most brutal heatwaves in eastern Australia to fit 10km of horse tape along the new fence at Pullen Pullen.

We got by on a strict diet of water, electrolytes and watermelon.

Bush Heritage will monitor the effectiveness of the fences, and make tweaks to the designs if necessary – though the long-term existence of many pastoral fences in the area means that these unnatural barriers in the landscape are well-known and avoided by nocturnal species.

As part of ongoing management of Pullen Pullen for Night Parrots, Bush Heritage will remove all the old internal fences including, in time, parts of the shared boundary with Diamantina National Park.

Another quick win for conservation.

Pull, pull, pulling at Pullen Pullen. Matt Warr creating some tension. Pull, pull, pulling at Pullen Pullen. Matt Warr creating some tension.
Every 100m a bright orange flag was attached to the fence, to provide a bit of extra, flappy, bird discouragement. Every 100m a bright orange flag was attached to the fence, to provide a bit of extra, flappy, bird discouragement.

Related stories

Maiawali Custodians, other Indigenous rangers and groups walking through Night Parrot habitat. By Lachlan Gardiner

BUSHTRACKS 27/10/2023

The next chapter for the Night Parrot

The sharing of Night Parrot knowledge at Pullen Pullen Reserve, Maiawali Country, bolsters the species’ protection.

Read More

BLOG 02/06/2023

Learning more about the Night Parrot

In May 2023, six indigenous ranger groups travelled to Pullen Pullen Reserve, Maiawali Country, in Western Queensland. It's here that the Night Parrot was rediscovered in 2013, after it was thought to have gone extinct. Bush Heritage purchased the property in 2016 and have been working tirelessly to protect the mysterious bird. 

Read More
The Night Parrot.

17/05/2022

Bush Broadcast: Protecting the Night Parrot at Pullen Pullen

Join our staff as they chat about the work undertaken to protect this rare and mysterious bird.

Read More
Nick Leseberg looking out over Pullen Pullen. Photo Lachlan Gardiner.

BUSHTRACKS 25/03/2022

Called to the night

Nick Leseberg took an unconventional path to one of the nation’s most high-profile ecological rescue projects: conservation of the elusive Night Parrot.

Read More

BLOG 22/03/2022

Front line conservationists on the fight to protect Pullen Pullen

Following the Night Parrot's discovery in 2013, many uniquely positioned conservationists have been working to protect Pullen Pullen - by deepening our understanding of the bird itself and by protecting the birds' habitat and its country.

Read More

BLOG 27/04/2021

Ramping up the fight for Australia's rarest bird

New funding for Pullen Pullen will allow us to continue and expand vital-on ground conservation work for the critically endangered Night Parrot.

Read More
A feral cat in the scrub. Photo Annette Ruzicka.

BUSHTRACKS 15/04/2021

The problem with cats

Feral cats kill an estimated 2 billion animals in Australia every year, but nuanced solutions on Bush Heritage reserves and partnership properties across Australia are helping to turn the tide.

Read More

BLOG 23/09/2020

Pullen Pullen protections strengthened

Pullen Pullen Reserve on Maiawali country in western Queensland has become Australia's first ever Special Wildlife Reserve.

Read More

BLOG 13/03/2019

Nick Leseberg on Night Parrot research

Media reports around a Night Parrot controversy involving scientific fraud involve a different conservation organisation. Nick Leseberg from University of Queensland has a field update from our work at Pullen Pullen.

Read More

BLOG 19/02/2019

The Night Parrot & friends

We often get asked whether the Night Parrot is related to other parrot species that are similarly green with yellow and black 'barred' patterning such as the Budgerigar and Kakapo.

Read More

BLOG 23/08/2018

Predators! Keep calm, just carrion

Have you ever stopped to think, how does the provision of resources in the landscape affect wildlife patterns in general? If you add a heap of additional unexpected food resources, what then happens to the array of carrion eaters and predators, and how does this affect other smaller animals?

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 27/03/2018

Opportunistic breeders

In December last year, a researcher captured photos of a young Night Parrot on our Pullen Pullen Reserve in western Queensland. PhD student Nick Leseberg estimated the parrot was two-to three-months-old at the time, meaning it likely hatched in early September.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 27/03/2018

Creatures of the night

A feral cat detection dog has recently been out to Pullen Pullen Reserve in western Queensland, where feral cats are thought to pose a dangerous threat to the resident population of endangered Night Parrots, as well as many other native animals.

Read More

BLOG 21/09/2017

Removing internal fences

Like much of the Australian outback, Pullen Pullen was once used for cattle grazing which relies upon a system of internal fences to partition specific areas of land to be grazed or rested when required. Naturally, this subdivision is not a requirement for our conservation purposes. So while boundary fences are needed to keep the cattle out of the reserve to protect the night parrots food resources the internal fences are unnecessary and a potential risk.

Read More

BLOG 30/06/2017

Fencing in the food

Do we really need a fence on our Night Parrot reserve? Fences are a requirement in pastoral rangelands and are vital infrastructure to keep large feral herbivores off reserve, eliminating their impacts on vegetation and critical habitats.

Read More

BLOG 26/06/2017

Meet Night Parrot Nick

Our ecologist Alex Kutt interviews PhD student Nick Leseberg to find out a little more about his latest field trip and data he's collecting about Night Parrots at Pullen Pullen Reserve in western Queensland.

Read More

BLOG 26/06/2017

Secrets & parrots

A recent essay by Professor David Lindenmayer, one of Australia's most renowned conservation scientists, reinforced the reasons why the location and call of the Night Parrot were initially kept under wraps.

Read More

BLOG 14/02/2017

The fine art of fencing Night Parrots

Fences are vital infrastructure that keep feral herbivores out, and help manage their impacts on vegetation and critical habitats. At Pullen Pullen Reserve this poses a conundrum. We want to keep any stray herbivores out to protect the floodplains, which are significant feeding locations for the Night Parrot, without creating an unexpected obstacle for the birds.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 06/12/2016

Night Parrots spreading their wings

For the last 80 to 100 years, people have been writing and talking about Night Parrots as if they were extinct. Now, we’ve got recordings of their calls, we’ve got information about nesting, and we’ve tagged two with tracking devices. I struggle to find the words to describe how exciting that is. - Steve Murphy, lead Night Parrot researcher.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 11/04/2016

Maggie nose best

Meet Maggie, a four-legged friend working hard to protect the world’s only known population of Night Parrots on our newest reserve, secured recently with the help of Bush Heritage supporters.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2015

Back from the brink

Ornithologist Dr Stephen Murphy is leading efforts to research the newly discovered population of Night Parrots. Dr Murphy takes a moment to discuss the significance of this work.

Read More

BUSHTRACKS 21/09/2015

Ghost of the outback

Bush Heritage Australia is leading the recovery effort to secure one of the world’s rarest birds, the mysterious Night Parrot. In 2013 Queensland naturalist John Young set the ornithological world atwitter after sighting and photographing a bird that has been the ‘Holy Grail’ for birdwatchers, the enigmatic Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis), a bird so rare and elusive that it's bordered on the mythological.

Read More
Loading...
{{itemsInCart}} Items - {{formatCurrency(grandTotal)}}