Thursday, July 30, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Game on: One of the two-year-old Macaws chases after Flitzer the dog
Teasing the family dog and raiding apple trees, these playful parrots love nothing more than to cause mischief.
Pictured in the German countryside, female Macaws Ava and Mio cruise the skies looking for fun and food.
The yellow and blue pair of birds, aged two, have proved themselves to be quite a handful for their owner Julian Knott.Steer clear! The bright blue and yellow bird charges directly for the hapless dog
The birds often charge at Julian's dog Flitzer and have even riled a neighbour's horse.
'Its an interactive game between the birds and Flitzer our dog,' says 25-year-old Julian from Hamburg.
'The games are sometimes initiated by the parrots and sometimes by Flitzer.
'But in the blink of an eye the hunter becomes the hunted and Flitzer follows the Macaws.Carry on racing: The other bird joins in as the trio zoom around the field
'We let them out each morning and it only takes a few minutes before they have emptied the apple tree,' adds Julian, a helicopter pilot.
'After they have eaten they both rest in a tree, just to become active towards the evening.
'This is playtime for the parrots and they even manage to play with Lasso, a 15-year-old horse from the stable behind us.'Out of breath: Flitzer has a rest while the parrots refuel for more fun
Julian says that even the locals have become acquainted to the exotic birds, who have a wingspan of 130 centimetres.
'Sometimes they call me, that they have seen them on the river, bathing or visiting a shop,' he says.
'We don't care - they come home every evening. They feel totally at home with us and we don't have to be scared - until the next morning.'On horseback: The mischievous pair make friends with a neighbour's horse
Winged menace: The notorious pair fly free during the day before returning home to rest at nigh
Friday, July 17, 2009
LOCAL birdwatchers have reported the arrival of up to 30 per cent of the total population of the highly endangered Swift Parrot in forests on the Far South Coast within the past fortnight.
The small green Swift Parrot is among the most endangered parrots in the country with less than a thousand breeding pairs remaining.
The species annually migrates between Tasmania and southeastern Australia but has dramatically declined in numbers because of habitat disturbance and an unfortunate habit of colliding into windows.
NPWS Ranger, Robyn Kesby, said today that anyone who knows anything about this rare species is very excited about the news they have arrived in such numbers on the Far South Coast.
"Seeing one would be a real treat but local bird group, the Far South Coast Birdwatchers and experts from Birds Australia, have reported seeing as many as 350 in one group at Corunna State Forest south of Narooma and another group of 200 at Nelsons Beach in Mimosa Rocks National Park," Ms Kesby said.
Chris Tzaros from Birds Australia said that there was some concern earlier when Swift Parrots were not appearing at their more regular locations this season.
"I think that it is likely the serious drought conditions which have impacted on their favoured locations such as the box-ironbark woodlands of central Victoria and the inland slopes of the divide in NSW combined with favourable flowering in coastal spotted gum forests is why we are seeing them in such numbers on the Far South Coast.
Local birdwatcher and photographer, Max Sutcliffe said today that he was thrilled to be able to see and photograph this rare visitor.
"When I heard that Chris Tzaros from Birds Australia had found over 350 in Corunna State Forest feeding on spotted gum I immediately thought of Nelsons Beach in Mimosa Rocks National Park.
"On following visits their numbers increased to more than 100 within two weeks, some seen feeding on Banksia flowers also. This was an awesome experience as I watched two flocks of over 50 fly in and they filled the sky," Mr Sutcliffe said.
Because it is so rare the Swift Parrot is the focus of intensive efforts nationally to reverse its decline. A National Recovery Program is active for the Swift Parrot with the help of volunteers in NSW, ACT, Qld, Vic and SA who help conduct national surveys twice annually that track the movement of this species across the landscape.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
NOT to be outdone by their feathered cousins in the pavilion next door, the Gympie Cage Bird Club also held its annual bird show at the showgrounds last weekend.
The show was a popular drawcard among breeders, with 24 exhibitors and 319 birds on display.
Some of the birds exhibited on the day included canaries, budgerigars, cockatiels, parrots and finches.
The day was a busy one for all involved. Besides the judging there were other attractions including a cent auction and a bird sale.
Winners included Pamela Window who won the champion cockatiel, Zoe Doyle who took out champion large parrot, Jenny Stolberg was awarded champion finch and Betty D'Arcy won champion border canary.
Cage Bird Club secretary Betsy Quince said it was a great family day.
“There was a continual flow of people - very rewarding for all the people concerned,” she said.
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
O some, Ben Carrillo’s backyard shed could be considered a mortuary.
It’s filled with the carcasses of mammals, fish and birds.
At times the stench of rotting crustaceans or strong chemicals permeate the surrounding air.
But to Mr Carillo, it is a time capsule of what could be lost.
For about 20 years he has been a taxidermist and sees taxidermy as one way to preserve rare animals and capture their beauty.
“I’m a bird lover and animal lover,” he said.
“I don’t want to see nice animals going to waste – that’s probably the biggest attraction to it.”
His obsession with taxidermy began when he was breeding budgies in his early twenties.
He wanted to preserve his rare crested budgie and decided to mount it himself after discovering the price to get it done professionally.
Mr Carrillo said the budgie ultimately looked more like a giraffe than a bird, but he was not disheartened.
He has since specialised in mounting fish and birds but will mount “just about anything.”
“I’ve seen it all. I’ve done a camel, I’ve done a monkey, I’ve done all types of things that you can think of,” he said.
His clientele includes hunters, pet owners and museums.
“There’s not really too much that I find strange because I’ve had people bring around their pet rats and they have little costumes with them.”
But Mr Carrillo also said taxidermy played an important role in preserving the memory of endangered or extinct wildlife.
“There are species lost every week,” he said.
“This is the only way we’re going to be able to see them.”
He said that it also provided a way for pet owners to hold on to their beloved animals.
Mr Carrillo said the taxidermy industry was cut-throat and the future was not looking good for what he called a “very secretive business”.
He said five Victorian taxidermists retired last year and with no courses in Melbourne, the business relied solely on mentorship.
“I’m probably the youngest taxidermist out there at the moment, and I’m 43 years old. Now everyone is getting older in this game and there aren’t many newcomers,” he said.
He said that not many taxidermists would take on apprentices for fear of them stealing clients.
“You’ll see a couple of newcomers in the Yellow Pages and then they’ll be gone.”
Mr Carrillo said with little money to be made, his venture into the industry came from love.
“Honestly, once taxidermy is in your blood you can’t get away from it,” he said.