Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-crowned Parakeet

Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian 1

Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian 1

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-crowned Parakeet ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 3/8/12

Last December, the Red-crowned Parakeet was the bird of the week http://www.birdway.com.au/psittacidae/red_crowned_parakeet/index.htm . That was photographed on Enderby Island in the Auckland Islands one of the New Zealand Sub-Antarctic islands. Here is a close relative the Yellow-crowned Parakeet photographed on the same trip in Fiordland on the South Island. I’ve chosen it for this week’s bird, as I’m going to Norfolk Island tomorrow and I need your moral and spiritual support to help me photograph the endangered Norfolk Island or Tasman Parakeet.

In Fiordland, I camped at Cascade Creek camping site because it’s within striking distance of Milford Sound for the Fiordland Penguin and also because it’s right beside a nature trail through Antarctic Beech forest to Lake Gunn. This particular trail had been recommended as a good site for various native birds including the Yellow-crowned Parakeet. I found the Parakeets with relative ease as they chatter away when feeding or in flight. In the first photo, the bird is perched in a beech tree, and you can see its lovely, serrated, spoon-shaped leaves.
Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian 2

Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian 2

With a length of 23-25cm/9-10in, they’re smaller than the Red-crowned but otherwise very similar, apart from the colour of the crown and the lack of red behind the eye. In sunlight, the colours stand out well, as in the second photo, but in the shady areas of the forest they are well camouflaged and the presence of faded yellow leaves in both photos show well how the patches of colour in the plumage help to break up the outline of the bird.
Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian 3

Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian 3

The third photo shows another bird in a patch of sunlight on a very mossy tree stump. It’s a delightful forest, very Lord of the Rings, and it was easy to imagine encountering Treebeard along the way. It’s no wonder that the movie was filmed in New Zealand, and Tevora Lakes – not too far from here – was the location for Fangorn Forest, and you will, of course, remember that ‘Fangorn’ was the Sindarin for Treebeard http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treebeard .
Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian Middle Earth

Yellow-crowned Parakeet (Cyanoramphus auriceps) by Ian Middle Earth

http://www.virtualoceania.net/newzealand/culture/lotr/Anyway, I’m wandering. The Norfolk Island trip is being organised by the same birders from Victoria that were my companions on the Sub-Antarctic trip. I’d originally turned down the invitation to join them on the grounds of extravagance so shortly after the other trip. We had such fun together, however, that I changed my mind, particular when their flights were re-routed through Brisbane, an easy, if horribly early, connection away from Townsville.

The Tasman/Norfolk Island Parakeet looks similar to the Red-crowned but yet smaller (21-26cm/8.3-10.2in). Like all the 10 members of this South Pacific genus (Cyanorhamphus – ‘blue bill’) it has suffered from the introduction of mammalian predators by Europeans, is classified as endangered and is restricted in distribution to the Norfolk Island National Park. Its numbers have increased recently from a dangerous low as a result of conservation efforts. There is talk of reintroducing it to Phillip Island, a small predator-freed island off Norfolk, and to Lord Howe, where a similar parakeet became extinct. It is thought to belong to the same species, hence the name Tasman Parakeet. So, wish me luck, keep your fingers crossed and transmit the same spiritual energy that is has been so successful before, and I’ll try to bring you the Tasman Parakeet as a future bird of the week.

Best wishes


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://www.birdway.com.au/index.php

Lee’s Addition:

Our prayers will go with you for safety and that you might find your next “Bird of the Week.” We like following your adventures into the wilds. Must be nice to have so many parakeets and parrots around.

Check out Ian’s many members of the Parrots and Allies – Psittacidae Family photos. He has quite a collection of them. He has almost 50 species there. There are 350 total members in the Parrot family. Ian has a few more trips to take. When he mentioned “in the shady areas of the forest they are well camouflaged and the presence of faded yellow leaves,” it reminds me of how well their creator provided for their protection.

There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain. (Isaiah 4:6 NASB)

More – Bird of the Week articles


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